The Celebrant: A Novel
- Author:Eric Rolfe Greenberg
- Publisher:Bison Books
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- Sales Rank:362,813
- Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
- Number Of Items:1
- Shipping Weight (lbs):0.6
- Dimensions (in):0.5 x 6 x 9
- Publication Date:January 1, 1993
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The first two decades of the twentieth century were a time of promise and innocence in America. Hardworking immigrants could achieve the American dream; heroes were truly heroic. Eric Rolfe Greenberg brilliantly and authentically chronicles the real-life saga of the first national baseball hero, Christy Mathewson, and the fictional story of a Jewish immigrant family of jewelers. In these pages Mathewson and other great players like John McGraw, Honus Wagner, and Connie Mack discover the realities behind the shining illusions: the burdens of being a hero and the temptations that taint success.
In the Ragtime
tradition of revolving a fictional world around a factual core, Greenberg's 1983 novel is a polished gem, which is fitting because it is partly built around a jeweler. Though The Celebrant
never caught on much with the general public, its adherents were virtual zealots; to them, reading the novel bordered on having a religious experience. Its sophisticated weaving together of the life of Christy Mathewson, the Giants' great hurler and role model, with a family of immigrant Jews in New York in the first quarter of the 20th century captured their imaginations--then sadly disappeared for almost a decade before its welcome reissue.
On the surface, The Celebrant is obviously a baseball story--many of "Matty's" greatest on-field feats are meticulously recreated--as well as a story of how deeply the game reached into the lives of new arrivals from the Old World desperate to become American. On a deeper level, it is a stunning meditation on the fragile balance between the heroism of a man who won World Series rings and the hero worship of the young jeweler who made those rings for him. Its simplicity is deceptive. The Celebrant does much more than celebrate; it paints the corners of another era and another ethos with the command and control Matty himself was known to exhibit. --Jeff Silverman
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