If you are looking for The Great American Novel, I found it. David James Duncan wrote it.
It was like finding a Monet behind an old family picture that's been hanging on the living room wall. Though it was written in 1992, I found The Brothers K seventeen years ago while wandering through the shelves at the Walkersville Library. What I discovered was my all-time favorite book. I read it again a few months ago and enjoyed it all over again. It's destined to emerge again decades from now as required reading for students of literature everywhere.
Duncan writes about fathers, sons, brothers, marriage, God, war, and politics, and weaves it all together under the only canopy worthy of such weighty subjects -- baseball. Told from the perspective of fourth son, Kincaid, it's a robust, convoluted, hilarious, heartbreaking, and poignant story of a Father, Hugh "Papa Toe" Chance, whose Major League aspirations are dashed by circumstances and injury. His wife's allegiance to her Fundamentalist Adventist Church casts a smothering cloud over him and their four sons, each of whom takes a divergent path in response to their family's complicated dynamics. The story spans the tumultuous decades of the 60s and 70s, and the sons decisions represent all elements of those years. Some moments you'll hate, and some you'll love. Many will leave you laughing out loud. In the end, a family tragedy and common enemy bring the family back together for the final trip home. You will be glad you are there waiting for them.
So get loose and prepare to go nine innings with The Brothers K. You'll wonder why you haven't heard of it before.