The Might Have Been
By Joe Schuster
(Ballantine Books, Hardcover, 9780345530264, 352pp.)
Publication Date: March 20, 2012
List Price: $25.00*
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Joseph M. Schuster’s absorbing debut novel resonates with the pull of lifelong dreams, the sting of regret, and the ways we define ourselves against uncertain twists of fate—perfect for fans of Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding.
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
For Edward Everett Yates, split seconds matter: the precise timing of hitting a low outside pitch, of stealing a base, of running down a fly ball. After a decade playing in the minor leagues—years after most of his peers have given up—he’s still patiently waiting for his chance at the majors. Then one day he gets called up to the St. Louis Cardinals, and finally the future he wanted unfolds before him.
But one more split second changes everything: In what should have been the game of his life, he sustains a devastating knee injury, which destroys his professional career.
Thirty years later, after sacrificing so many opportunities—a lucrative job, relationships with women who loved him, even the chance for a family—Edward Everett is barely hanging on as the manager of a minor league baseball team, still grappling with regret over the choices he made and the life he almost had. Then he encounters two players—one brilliant but undisciplined, the other eager but unremarkable—who show him that his greatest contribution may come in the last place he ever expected.
Full of passion, ambition, and possibility, The Might Have Been maps the profound and unpredictable moments that change our lives forever, and the irresistible power of a second chance.
Praise for The Might Have Been
“The effort to sustain the tradition of the great American baseball novel receives an honorable boost with this meticulously peopled tale of opportunities lost.”—The New York Times Book Review
“Eventually, all of us have to grapple our might-have-beens. This is the moving story of a man whose chance for baseball stardom ended in a split-second accident, and it resonates far beyond the baseball field.”—Reader’s Digest
“A brilliant debut . . . a lovely, poignant, heartbreaker of a baseball novel, as good as last year’s hyped The Art of Fielding and more literary than Grisham’s Calico Joe.”—St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“A grand slam!”—San Antonio Express-News
“The Might Have Been is about the hold baseball can have on those who play it, but it’s also about acceptance, and patience, and the struggle to know when to fold ’em, and when to run.”—Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“A terrific story that goes beyond the sport and deals with promise and aspirations, dreams and disappointments . . . Never mind whether you are a baseball fan. This is a damn fine read.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Joseph M. Schuster lives near St. Louis, Missouri, and teaches at Webster University. His short fiction has appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Iowa Review, and The Missouri Review, among others. He is married and the father of five children.