It Looked Like For Everby Published 01 Mar 1989
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Henry Wiggen, the bedraggled six-foot-three, 195-pound, left-handed pitcher for the New York Mammoths, returns to narrate another novel in his inimitable manner. Fans who loved him in Bang the Drum Slowly, The Southpaw, and A Ticket for a Seamstitch (all Bison Books) will cheer his comeback. Wiggen is now thirty-nine, a fading veteran with a floating fastball, a finicky prostate, and other intimations of mortality. Released from the Mammoths after nineteen years, the twenty-seventh winningest pitcher in baseball history (tied at 247 victories with Joseph J. "Iron Man" McGinnity and John Powell), Wiggen is not ready to hang up his glove. What impels Henry to pitch against Pate, to trek to California and as far as Japan? He still has a few seasons, a few innings left anyway. Is he principled or possessed? You'll have to decide for yourself as author Mark Harris plays out Wiggen's midlife crisis on familiar American turf: the baseball diamond.
"It Looked Like For Ever" Reviews
First of all, it's not a typo. This baseball novel completes the Henry Wiggen series that Harris wrote over a couple of decades. This is not as famous as the equally brilliant Bang the Drum Slowly (later a fabulous film with Robert DeNiro and Michael Moriarty), but it's more mature and richer. Harris is funny and poignant and right on target in this look at an aging baseball player. It's a comic tour de force that will break your heart at the same time.
Having loved Harris's "Bang the Drum Slowly" in book and movie and having often repeated the last line ("From here on out, I rag nobody"), I was happy to learn of a third Henry Wiggen baseball book. Wiggen is forced to accept retirement after 19 years with the New York Mammoths. Although not as compelling as 'Bang the Drum", it was easy and enjoyable to read, in part to hear again Wiggen's syntax.
The last and least of the Henry Wiggen books (see my reviews of The Southpaw, Bang the Drug Slowly, and A Ticket for a Seamstitch), written decades after the others and set 18 years into the diamond Huck Finn's career, when he's experienced enough not to be quite as charming.
The last of four novels conseriing my third favorite hero in literature Henry Wiggen (AKA Author to his friends) 195 pound left handed pitcher for the New York Mammouths . It all started in the late 50s with " The Southpaw,Henry was 19 when he started with the Mammouths,next came "Bang the drums Slowly " than came "A ticket for a seamstitch " and in this novel Henry has been released by the Mammouths after 19 years and 247 victories,but Henry is not ready to hang up his glove as he treks around the country and even Japan looking for a team that will take on a 39 year old late releaf pitcher.At the age of 39 he is having a midlife crises. Will some team give him one last shot of greatness? The September of a Mans years comes somewhat earlier for a ball player ( which I am not) but I knew what his thought process was.
The last and in many ways weakest of Harris' books about left-handed pitcher Henry "author" Wiggin still has many charms. At times, Wiggins' voice grows tiresome and the subplots about his marriage and family don't always ring true, but the main theme of growing older, framed around Wiggins' attempts to latch on with a new team as a reliever after being cut by the Mammoths is nice. Even if this work can't match "The Southpaw" or "Bang the Drum Slowly" for poignant takes on human nature, give Harris credit--he wraps up Wiggen's pitching career on just the right note and in doing so caps the series with equal effectiveness.