Gil Gamesh, the only pitcher who ever literally tried to kill the umpire. The ex-con first baseman, John Baal, "The Babe Ruth of the Big House," who never hit a home run sober. If you've never heard of them—or of the Ruppert Mundys, the only homeless big-league ball team in American history—it's because of the Communist plot, and the capitalist scandal, that expunged the entire Patriot League from baseball memory.
In this ribald, richly imagined, and wickedly satiric novel, Roth turns baseball's status as national pastime and myth into an occasion for unfettered picaresque farce, replete with heroism and perfidy, ebullient wordplay and a cast of characters that includes the House Un-American Activities Committee.
Narrated by an ancient sportswriter named Word Smith, Philip Roth's satirical 1995 novel is full of baseball jokes, over-the-top plot elements, and outrageous puns (e.g. a "Babylonian" pitcher named Gil Gamesh, and another named Spit Baal, son of Base). It's the story of a mythical ball club, the Ruppert Mundys, part of the defunct "Patriot League," who were forever without a home because their stadium was sold to the US Army during World War II. A satire of both American life and the great American pastime, the novel begins the joking with its audacious title. While not generally considered one of Roth's own greatest novels, it is certainly one of his funniest.
- Fiction + Literature Genres, Fiction + Literature Themes
- Literary, General, Sports + Games, Politics, Types of Characters, Peoples + Cultures, Literary Genres + Types of Novels, Human Qualities + Behavior, Humorous Fiction, Conflicts + Dualities
- May 1, 1995
- May 1, 1995
- Philip Roth