Saturday, August 04, 2012

Mark Harris' Bang the Drum Slowly

Mark Harris' Bang the Drum Slowly is a sad novel, the fictional story of a major league catcher in 1955 named Bruce Pearson who is diagnosed with Hodgkin's and whose life fades out over the course of the season.

The narrator is Henry Wiggen, who protects Pearson. He does what he can to make Pearson's life as pleasant as possible, hiding the illness as long as he can so that the club won't drop him. He details the long, slow baseball season, which seems to be mirror the long, slow journey toward death.

The narrative itself is like someone speaking out loud, e.g. "would of" instead of "would have." That gives it a very personal feel, as Wiggen tries to cope with his friend's decline.

I've never seen the movie so I need to rent it.


Randy Paul 10:45 PM  

The film is great, with a pre-loony Michael Moriarty excellent as Wiggen and one of Robert de Niro's most understated performances as Pearson.

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