This is a book about baseball, our national pastime. The centerpiece is a team that hasn't won the championship for more than eighty years. The Boston Red Sox, however, are only part of the story. The rest turns on thoughts about family and continuity and, of course, the progress of the seasons; something, you'll learn, any reasonably intelligent man or woman is supposed to know about. The Progress of the Seasons confirms what admirers of the author's sparkling accurate prose already know: Higgins is to writing what Ted Williams was to baseball, an all-star. Beginning in 1946, the then eight-year-old author, accompanied by father and grandfather, takes the long train ride out to Fenway Park to find some truth in immortals like Doerr, DiMaggio, York, and Williams (imagine the records Ted Williams would have engraved if he hadn't left the field for World War II and Korea), and, later, Yastremski, Marty Barrett, and many more. Beyond the games, there's a magical moment when George Higgins calls on his own mythic Emily to check the all-time lineup with his deceased forebears. By then you've come to know what the author's values have in common with those in Our Town and why certain professional athletes achieve immortality and others don't. And to think, as Johnny Pesky reminds us, "It's such a simple game...and it's so hard to play."
©1989 George V. Higgins; (P)1997 Blackstone Audiobooks