The Natural Context

The Natural Context

Author:
Original title:
The Natural
Published:
July 7th 2003 by Farrar Straus Giroux (first published 1952)
ISBN 0374502005 (ISBN13: 9780374502003)

“The Natural” is a novel about baseball and suddenly it is a novel about almost paranormal mystery. The author brilliantly merges so familiar and close-to-earth game with all the typical struggles and rivalry in the team with something much, much more subtle, that gives the book the fleur of Gothic mystery. The story tells us the biography of a young rising star of baseball that starts with a baseball duel, an accidental murder of an innocent man, a mysterious femme fatale and… with the murder of the main character.

This is only the beginning. We see our hero years later, losing his fame and incredible talents, but he is still a very able player, who finds the place in the new team. How did he manage to survive? What happened with him during all these years? We don’t know and, probably, we’ll never know. But what we clearly see is that the events of that episode of his young years start to repeat themselves, in a new, distorted form. Will our hero use the chance to change his possible fate, settling down with the woman that loves him truly? Or will he stay as self-centered and arrogant as before and let his destiny make a full circle and lead him to his ultimate devastating defeat again?

Despite being a modern novel about modern game, the story features lots of traits that are common for the epic legends of the knights. Roy Hobbs, the main character, is travelling in the search of fame and fortune with his bat “Wonderboy”, like a knight errant with his enchanted sword. His lust and desire to become great lead him to abandoning the knightly virtues and therefore to his downfall. It isn’t obvious for the first sight, but Roy Hobbs isn’t just a mere baseball player who is finishing his career - he is Lancelot or even King Arthur of the modern times.

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