(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

It is not hard to imagine what the one-sentence pitch was that Peter Lefcourt, Emmy-award winning scriptwriter and author of the wickedly funny Hollywood novel, THE DEAL, used to sell his second novel. As he told ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY, “What could possibly happen that would shock this country the way the Dreyfus affair and its violent anti-semitism shocked France a century ago?” The answer is his new novel, a 290-page punchline about (white) superstar shortstop Randy (Shovel) Dreyfus’ mid-season discovery that he is in love—with his (black) second baseman, D.J. Picket. Dreyfus has everything: talent, an agent putting the finishing touches on a three-year contract worth $20 million, a sexy wife who has her own top-rated radio show (on exercise and personal hygiene), twin daughters (who have taken Joan Lunden as their role model), a 6,800 square-foot house located on Caravaggio Place and decorated in Post-Santa-Fe-Modern. Turning gay—batting lefty as he calls it—puts all this at risk, along with his shot at MVP honors, Hall of Fame status, and, as others see it, the moral foundations of the national pastime and of the nation itself.

Homophobia and its obverse, the current American obsession with family values seems a bit off the mark, given the moral and intellectual shortcomings of virtually everyone in the novel who occupies a position of patriarchal authority, from the Los Angeles Valley Vikings’ owner, manager, public relations director, and...

(The entire section is 455 words.)