Past the Bleachers

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1992 Hard cover 1ST Carroll & Graf ed. New in new dust jacket. BRIGHT SHINY, BRAND NEW Sewn binding. Paper over boards. 254 p. Audience: General/trade.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In this accomplished third novel by the author of Hangman , narrator Bill Parrish and his wife, Harper, have lost their only child, Nathaniel, age 10, to acute lymphocytic leukemia. Searching for a way to deal with his grief, Bill agrees to coach the Little League team that Nathaniel would have played for had he lived to see another summer. Among his young charges is Lucky Diamond, a mute child with a mysterious background. Like Nathaniel, Lucky is a gifted natural athlete with a sweet smile. Gradually, Bill finds himself drawn into Lucky's mystery--a father no one has ever seen, school records that can't be found, a series of sinister accidents that point to Lucky as the possessor of strange powers. Indeed, as the book progresses one fears that Bohjalian will cheapen its very real insights into grief with a faux -Stephen King supernatural plot, but he is a better writer than that. The book's final revelations, while a trifle mechanical, take it in vastly more profound direction altogether. Bohjalian has a fine feeling for emotions, and draws his characters with real affection. Eschewing predictable melodramatic violence, he has created a moving portrait of some decent people trying to cope with the powerful forces of grief and loss, which he leavens withdb (too many some's) very funny recollections of life in Little League. (May)
Library Journal
Bill Parrish coaches the little league team that his son would have starred on, had he not died of leukemia over the winter. A strange young boy--mute, motherless, living with a father Bill never sees--joins the team. He spooks everybody, including the coach, especially since bad things happen to people who cross him, but his neediness appeals to Bill's wife. When the child is completely abandoned, Bill realizes that he has been manipulated: the league director intended all along that the bereaved coach and his wife would replace their lost child with this waif. Although Bohjalian ( A Killing in the Real World , St. Martin's, 1988) sets up tensions and expectations he does not fulfill, this is an engrossing story of loss and recovery. Recommended for public library fiction collections.-- Marylaine Block, St. Ambrose Univ. Lib., Davenport, Ia.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780881848021
  • Publisher: Avalon Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 5/28/1992
  • Edition description: 1st Carroll & Graf ed
  • Pages: 240

Meet the Author

Chris Bohjalian
Chris Bohjalian
Perhaps the San Francisco Chronicle said it best: "Bohjalian's hallmark: ordinary people in heartbreaking circumstances behaving with grace and dignity." Since the selection of his dark novel Midwives for Oprah's Book Club back in 1998, Bohjalian has enjoyed mainstream success as one of today's most poignant novelists.

Biography

It was March 1986 when Chris Bohjalian made a decision that would have an incalculable impact on his writing. He and his wife had just hailed a taxi home to Brooklyn after a party in Manhattan's East Village when they suddenly found themselves on a wild and terrifying 45-minute ride. The crazed cabbie, speeding through red lights and ignoring stop signs, ultimately dropped the shaken couple off... in front of a crack house being stormed by the police. It was then that Bohjalian and his wife decided that the time had come to flee the city for pastoral Vermont. This incident and the couple's subsequent move to New England not only inspired a series of columns titled "Idyll Banter" (later compiled into a book of the same name), but a string of books that would cause Bohjalian to be hailed as one of the most humane, original, and beloved writers of his time.

While Bohjalian's Manhattan murder mystery A Killing in the Real World was a somewhat quiet debut, follow-up novels (many of which are set in his adopted state) have established him as a writer to watch. A stickler for research, he fills his plotlines with rich, historically accurate details. But he never loses sight of what really draws readers into a story: multi-dimensional characters they can relate to.

The selection of his 1997 novel Midwives for Oprah's Book Club established Bohjalian as a force to be reckoned with, igniting a string of critically acclaimed crowd pleasers. His literary thriller The Double Bind was a Barnes & Noble Recommends pick in 2007.

Good To Know

Bohjalian's fascination with the works of F. Scott Fitzgerald extends beyond the author's prominent influence on The Double Bind. In an interview with Loaded Shelf.com, Bohjalian estimated that he owns "at least 42 different editions of books by or about F. Scott Fitzgerald."

. Two of Chris Bojalian's novels have been adapted into critically acclaimed TV movies. An adaptation of Past the Bleachers with Richard Dean Anderson was made in 1995, and a version of Midwives starring Sissy Spacek and Peter Coyote debuted in 2001.

In our interview with Bohjalian, he shared some fascinating and fun facts about himself:

"I was the heaviest child, by far, in my second-grade class. My mother had to buy my pants for me at a store called the "Husky Boys Shop," and still she had to hem the cuffs up around my knees. I hope this experience, traumatizing as it was, made me at least marginally more sensitive to people around me."

"I have a friend with Down syndrome, a teenage boy who is capable of remembering the librettos from entire musicals the first or second time he hears them. The two of us belt them out together whenever we're driving anywhere in a car.

"I am a pretty avid bicyclist. The other day I was biking alone on a thin path in the woods near Franconia Notch, New Hampshire, and suddenly before me I saw three bears. At first I saw only two, and initially I thought they were cats. Then I thought they were dogs. Finally, just as I was approaching them and they started to scurry off the path and into the thick brush, I understood they were bears. Bear cubs, to be precise. Which is exactly when their mother, no more than five or six feet to my left, reared up on her hind legs, her very furry paws and very sharp claws raised above her head in a gesture that an optimist might consider a wave and guy on a bike might consider something a tad more threatening. Because she was standing on a slight incline, I was eye level with her stomach -- an eventual destination that seemed frighteningly plausible. I have never biked so fast in my life in the woods. I may never have biked so fast in my life on a paved road."

"I do have hobbies -- I garden and bike, for example -- but there's nothing in the world that gives me even a fraction of the pleasure that I derive from hanging around with my wife and daughter."

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    1. Hometown:
      Lincoln, Vermont
    1. Date of Birth:
      August 12, 1961
    2. Place of Birth:
      White Plains, New York
    1. Education:
      Amherst College
    2. Website:

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2002

    I love Bohjalian!

    He is a great writer! This is a good book. Great story!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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