Customer Reviews for

The Celebrant: A Novel

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  • Posted February 1, 2011

    The best baseball novel ever written?

    Ask a reading baseball fan about the best baseball novel ever written, and you might get back 'Screwballs' by Jay Conley or 'Changing Pitches' by Steve Kluger. Most fans like their sports fiction funny and topical. Or you might hear 'Shoeless Joe' by WP Kinsella, or the 'The Natural' by Bernard Malamud. Both those novels were made into very watchable "serious" films with handsome, charismatic leading men.
    And those fans might be right.
    But the best baseball novel ever written is 'The Celebrant', by Eric Rolfe Greenberg, a writer who never published another novel. This is a fascinating, compelling, innovative, and ultimately heartbreaking depiction of the dead-ball era and the urban culture that both worshipped and despoiled it. Written with amazing intelligence, perception, imagination, and attention to historical detail, the "celebrant" in the story is Jackie Kapinski, a young New York City jeweler's apprentice for whom Christy Mathewson represents the highest attainment of sporting greatness and integrity. Kapinski celebrates Matty's heroics on the diamond with custom-made gemstone rings, each designed to reflect individual acts of achievement (like the 3 shutout games of the 1905 World Series). Kapinski is there for the best and worst of Matty's career and with it, the best and worst of professional baseball. Along the novel's path the reader is treated to uncannily realistic evocations of John McGraw, Hal Chase, Ban Johnson, and other famous sporting legends of the old era, as well as the scent and flavor of early 20th-century urban life.

    If you would list 'The Glory of Their Times' by Lawrence Ritter as the greatest non-fiction baseball book ever written (and many do), the very next book you read should be 'The Celebrant'.

    Oh, and by the way: the book would make a fabulous film.

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    Posted April 19, 2009

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    Posted August 4, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2008

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