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The classical novel (and basis for the acclaimed film) now in a new edition Introduction by Kevin Baker The Natural, Bernard Malamud's first novel, published in 1952, is also the firstand some would say still the bestnovel ever written about baseball. In it Malamud, usually appreciated for his unerring portrayals of postwar Jewish life, took on very different materialthe story of a superbly gifted "natural" at play in the fields of the old daylight baseball eraand invested it with the hardscrabble poetry, at once grand and altogether believable, that runs through all his best work. Four decades later, Alfred Kazin's comment still holds true: "Malamud has done something whichnow that he has done it!looks as if we have been waiting for it all our lives. He has really raised the whole passion and craziness and fanaticism of baseball as a popular spectacle to its ordained place in mythology."
Bernard Malamud (1914–86) wrote eight novels; he won the Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award for The Fixer, and the National Book Award for The Magic Barrel. Born in Brooklyn, he taught for many years at Bennington College in Vermont.
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“A brilliant and unusually fine novel.” —The New York Times
“A preposterously readable story about life.” —Time
“Malamud [holds a] high and honored place among contemporary American writers.” —Washington Post Book World
“The finest novel about baseball since Ring Lardner left the scene.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch