Brayden's Reviews > The Natural

The Natural by Bernard Malamud
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's review
Jul 22, 2009

really liked it
Read in July, 2009

Malamud is a beautiful writer. This is the second Malamud book that I've read (the first being The Assistant) and I'm becoming a big fan. It's surprising that he doesn't get more credit as a great American writer. The Natural, while not quite an example of perfection, is very good. The book is the tragic story of Roy Hobbs, a man born with all the skills needed to be a great baseball player but who keeps getting derailed in one way or another. The movie with Robert Redford really doesn't do the book justice. Hobbs, who in the movie is a God-like, stoic figure, is much more human in the book, and it's his human weaknesses that keep him from achieving greatness. While having the natural talent to be the greatest who ever played the game, Hobbs's ambition cripples his ability to see the world as it really is. While the movie tells a heroic story of redemption, the book teaches a different lesson, similar to the famous line, "those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Hobbs is self-doubting and desperate for praise. These personal defects lead him to his ultimate fate.

The book is a little heavy on symbolism, but Malamud's skills as a writer make it work.

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