Books: Uncle Sam Takes On the Phantom


by ROBERT COOVER 534 pages. Viking. $12.95.

Author Robert Coover, 45, is not a household name, unless the house happens to be a college dormitory. An on-and-off teacher, Coover has won a campus reputation as an avant-gardist who can do with reality what a magician does with a pack of cards: shuffle the familiar into unexpected patterns. Devotees religiously pass along The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., an eerie tale of a recluse who invents and maintains an eight-team baseball league and the lives of hundreds of players. First editions of his first novel (The Origin of the Brunists) and a...

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