Those who are regular readers of the Bookshelf know I rarely deal with fiction. It’s not that I don’t like it (although in many cases I feel the ability to self-publish so easily and inexpensively leads to an overload of stimulation — just too much stuff); it’s simply that I feel inadequately educated to comment intelligently. (“I’m a doctor, Jim, not an English major, dammit!”)
That said, one of the more enjoyable new novels I’ve come across in recent years in The Might Have Been by Joseph Schuster, a member of the faculty of Webster University. This is the book that should have gotten the buzz novels like John Grisham’s Calico Joe and Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding received.
Schuster has also written a small non-fiction tribute to some of the men who, like the hero of his novel, had barely a taste of major league life in One Season in The Sun. I had a chance to chat with him recently about his work, including the thought processes that go into naming characters and choosing a setting for a story.