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book cover of Almost Perfect

Almost Perfect

(2011)
A Novella by

 
"Almost Perfect" is a baseball story. It was written at the invitation of Otto Penzler, who wanted it for an anthology - but he didn't get to publish it. Alice K. Turner, as incisive a reader as I've ever known, was Playboy's Fiction Editor at the time, and I always gave her first look at anything I wrote. She snapped it up, and I had to choose between disappointing Otto and missing out on a sale to Playboy.

Talk about your no - brainers. The story appeared in Playboy, and in due course I tucked it into my omnibus collection, Enough Rope.

My own favorite baseball stories are all novels. Bernard Malamud's The Natural is a critical favorite, and justly so, but there are four other books I like even better. Three are by Mark Harris - The Southpaw and its two sequels, Bang the Drum Slowly and A Ticket For a Seamstitch. (Harris wrote a fourth novel about the same character toward the end of his life, and it can be charitably described as disappointing.) And Charles Einstein's The Only Game in Town is a book I've reread several times, with undiminishing enjoyment. Malamud's novel's in print; the others are not, but once can find them readily and reasonably in the aftermarket.

Back to Otto. He was disheartened when he heard I wasn't going to be able to give him a story after all. "So write another story," he said. "There's plenty of time. A baseball story, with a crime in it."

But, I said, I didn't have an idea.

A pause. "Well," he said gently, "that's never stopped you in the past... "

So when his anthology, Murderer's Row, appeared, it contained a story of mine called "Keller's Designated Hitter." But that's another story...

    


Kindle Editions

July 2011 : USA, Canada, UK Kindle edition
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Title: Almost Perfect
Author(s): Lawrence Block
Publisher: Lawrence Block
Availability: Amazon   Amazon UK   Amazon CA   



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