Friday, April 02, 2010

More Praise for Billy Lombardo's THE MAN WITH TWO ARMS

Journalist, sportswriter, and biographer Allen Barra offers some glowing praise for Billy Lombardo's new baseball novel The Man With Two Arms: "Most great baseball fiction—books such as Bernard Malamud’s The Natural, W.P. Kinsella’s Shoeless Joe and Kevin Baker’s Sometimes You See It Coming come quickly to mind—are heavy on the realism but with a touch of the weird. Billy Lombardo’s fits neatly on a shelf with those classics. Lombardo, author of such fine collections of short stories as Logic of A Rose and Meanwhile, Roxy Mourns, is a Chicago-based writer and editor who is both a master of fiction and a consummate observer of the game, which is what makes his strange premise so oddly believable: Henry Granville, a baseball fanatic, trains his son Danny to pitch with both hands, much in the way Mickey Mantle’s father trained him as a switch hitter. Lombardo is as deft at handling the comic and tragic aspects of his story as his creation, Danny, is at whizzing them in from both sides of the plate. Let’s subtitle The Man with Two Arms “The Unnatural” and call it the best baseball-themed fiction so far this decade.

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