Books: Laugh track

SUDER by Percival L. Everett

Viking; 171 pages; $13.50

The hero of this first novel is a black third baseman with the Seattle Mariners named Craig Suder. Given the salaries and perks enjoyed by contemporary athletes, Suder's position on and off the field would seem to be enviable. Unfortunately, he has a few problems, including a batting average of .198: "Things are bad. I can't make love to my wife, I can't run bases, and I couldn't get a hit if they was pitching me basketballs underhanded. And my kid hates me. To top it off, I got a bum leg that don't...

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