Brittle Innings
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Brittle Innings

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  198 ratings  ·  22 reviews
Acclaimed novelist Michael Bishop combines humor, tragedy and suspense to tell a uniquely American story reminiscent of both Of Mice and Men and Shoeless Joe. For a 17-year-old shortstop from Oklahoma, the summer of 1943 would be a season to remember.
Hardcover, 502 pages
Published April 1st 1994 by Bantam (first published 1994)
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For all that I'm not overly fond of actually watching baseball, I like reading fictional stories about it an awful lot. I've read (and liked) Field of Dreams, The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, Screwball, The Last Days of Summer, and many more. The mythology of baseball seems to lend itself to stories that aren't exactly grounded in our reality.

But the king of that sort of basball book has got to be Brittle Innings. One the one hand, it's a gritty, detailed portrait of life in the southern baseball...more
One of the joys of reading is discovering a book that you had bought years ago but never gotten around to reading. I finally read "Brittle Innings," and I was genuinely moved by what a brilliant piece of baseball fiction it is. I had only read one work by Michael Bishop in the past, a sci-fi collection of stories, and this only shows you shouldn't narrowly assume authors can only write well in one genre. This book ranks up there with Lardner and Harris with its joy of language. Set in Georgia du...more
I’m a baseball fan who also much admires the writing of Michael Bishop, so have to wonder why it took me until 2012 to read his superb 1994 novel Brittle Innings. Part of the reason has to be that my partner George Zebrowski and I have long had the habit of acquiring books and then slipping them onto bookshelves, as with bottles of wine in a wine cellar, to age a bit before being read. (This method works best with books that have been heavily publicized; you’ll either enjoy and appreciate them a...more
Joe Santoro
Plot: Danny Boles is the greatest scout ever, but few recall back in the day when he was an extremely promising shortstop in the CVL... this is his story, and that of the rest of the Highridge Hellbenders in their pennant winning 1943 season.

I really loved this book as a historical fiction about baseball in the war era. Bishop did a fantastic job capturing what I know of the era, the time period, the whole thing. My only slight issue is the framing sequence, which essentially spoiled the ending...more
Based in the deep South during World War 2, Brittle Innings follows the baseball exploits of Danny Boles, a sometime mute, and his larger than life room and team mate, Henry "Jumbo" Cherval. There is a big mystery, no pun intended on the origin of Danny's friend. Is he a golem? Sasquatch? An alien? Frankenstein's monster?

The answer, when it comes, is hardly a surprise, thanks to a gratuitous scene in a movie theater. If the book concerned only this plotline, or if it turned out that Henry is ju...more
I was told that this was the only juxtaposition of a baseball book with science fiction. It turned out to be one of the most odd things that I have ever read. Danny Boles is a seventeen year-old shortstop in the midst of World War II. When he graduates high school early, he's hired to play minor league ball for a Class C team deep in Georgia. When he arrives, he plays dumb, literally, to cover his stammer, anxiety, difficulties dealing with men. He is assigned to room with the gargantuan and rec...more
This novel was really enjoyable, and quite perfect August reading. In 1943, 17 year old shortstop Danny Boles is recruited straight from high school into the Highbridge Hellbenders, minor league team in the Chattahoochee Valley League. A traumatic experience* during his trip to Georgia has rendered him mute. Upon arrival at the Hellbender boarding house and headquarters, Danny becomes the room-mate of "Jumbo" Henry Clerval, an unusually large and odd man who plays first base. Over the course of...more
This is an excellent story about a youngster, Daniel Boles, fresh out of high school and his adventure as a Class-C minor league ballplayer in 1943. I loved the descriptions of ball games and Danny's teammates. One teammate in particular becomes his friend and one teammate is the protagonist.
The atmosphere of small-town America in the South during WWII is captured well; the slang and slurs to the brands on ad boards in the outfield. Many secrets (one is reason for my fantasy bookshelf--no spoil...more
Ryan Lazarus
Frankenstein's monster plays baseball. Why the hell are you still reading this?

In all seriousness, despite the (at first glance) ridiculous premise, this is treated with all the severeness and humanity a proper sequel to Frankenstein deserves. Highly recommended.
Jun 01, 2012 Joyce rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: baseball/fantasty readers
Recommended to Joyce by: Mark
Shelves: favorites
A friend at work asked me to read this as it was his favorite book. WHen I do that I never read anything, I just open the book and start reading, so I had NO IDEA about the concept of what the book was going to be about. It started of slow (for me anyway) but I trusted him so I kept going. Well it turned out to be one of the best, most SHOCKING storylines I have ever read. A truly WTF moment when you realize what is really going on and who the charachter turns out to really be!!! I won't give it...more
"Brittle Innings" is just amazing. It's a great Southern Gothic. It's a great baseball novel. It's a great fantasy novel. It's a heartbreakingly beautiful book in the same league as "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "The Great Santini" (okay, maybe some folks won't put "Santini" on so high a pedastle...). Jumbo Hank Clerval is a character who will stick with you for a long, long time. You really shouldn't read too many reviews of this book here because they give away one of the greatest reveals ever....more
I don't even know how to explain how much I enjoyed this book. I think it's relevant that I don't usually develop crushes on characters and I was totally soft for Clerval in no time. This was a perfect homage and development to Shelley's original and one of the rare books I'd be happy to reread purely for the pleasure of it.
May 14, 2007 Craig rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who liked "Field of Dreams"
The best Frankenstein story I can remember ever reading, as well a great baseball novel. Lots of other cool stuff, too! Sounds like quite a mishmash, but it all comes together poignantly. Bishop perfected "magic realism" before it became the literary buzzword of choice.
Michael Burianyk
Wow! Michael Bishop is a great writer and I can't understand why he isn't better known. Brittle Innings is a wonderful novel about baseball and ... well, it's better to find out for yourself.
Michael Williams
A wonderful, genre-bending coming-of-age story, where yet another American baseball novel gathers traction and wonder from being wed to one of the great proto-SF fictions. I loved it on all counts.
-a sublime coming-of-age story set in the USA during WWII that carefully blends , the "Frankenstein" mythos, baseball, and a bit of that old "Dandelion Wine" magic for a truly memorable read...
Diane Baker
I read this several years ago when it was considered for the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award. A very good book with engaging characters, and a subtle, nuanced story arc.
Michael Brockley
I like baseball novels. I like quirky novels that unleash genuine surprises. This is one of the books I take with me to the island.
Joe Faust
Haunting novel combining the Frankenstein legend with baseball’s early years.
Joseph Spinale
Very creative plot. Well written. Great read for anyone who loves baseball.
Wayne Crich
A great book on baseball with a special twist .
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Michael Lawson Bishop is an award-winning American writer. Over four decades & thirty books, he has created a body of work that stands among the most admired in modern sf & fantasy literature.

Bishop received a bachelor's from the Univ. of Georgia in 1967, going on to complete a master's in English. He taught English at the US Air Force Academy Preparatory School in Colorado Springs from 1...more
More about Michael Bishop...
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