.. du site
Comment peut-on sortir vraiment de l'enfance? Avec l'obligation de comprendre le monde et de devenir soi-même? Les peuples anciens, dans leur sagesse, avait concentré en quelques jours des cérémonials initiatiques : des souffrances particulières entraînaient une révélation, un changement de nature et l'adaptation à leur monde. Les groupes ethniques primitifs ou les tribus tant soit peu organisées possèdent leurs cérémonies initiatiques, qui sont souvent extrordinairement complexes et qui jouent dans leur vie sociale et religieuse un rôle important. Par ces initiations, 1es adolescents se muent en hommes et les fillettes en femmes. De nos jours, les choses sont moins simples. le monde est de venu compliqué à décoder, les identités possibles sont nombreuses. Le choix est d'autant plus difficile qu'il faut le faire soi-même. À la place d'un temps de calvaire initiatique programmé, c'est une partie importante de la vie qui devient souffrance, dans un long chemin vers la mort à parcourir seul.
Le héros fait partie de images-codes, dont l'universalité et la charge émotionnelle ne se discutent pas. Être à mi-chemin entre la vie humaine ordinaire et la condition divine, le héros est le symbole de rêve d'excellence des hommes et du secret désir de se dépasser en tant qu'humain. L'engagement avec la Bête était symbolisé par le dragon (le serpent) ou le géant. À chaque époque ses héros, mais il faut bien reconnaître que ceux de nos concitoyens ont perdu leur grandeur épique. Produits pour un imaginaire de masse par les médias, ils continuent à remplir les mêmes fonctions que les anciens, mais correspondent aux nouvelles conditions d'existence et aux rêves qu'elles engendrent. Le héros qui lui sert de modèle la jeune Trisha est le héros moderne par excellence aux USA, un joueur de base-ball.
Dans la plupart des oeuvres de Stephen King se manifeste une présence, force de nature supérieure, en opposition avec un adversaire dont le statut varie. Dans ces romans, les héros sont souvent des «élus», qui doivent se livrer à un combat ou une quête pour faire reculer ou détruire l'Adversaire. Cette lutte conflictuelle les oblige à surmonter de nombreux obstacles, qui demandent la (voir saison été 2000) symbolise le passage dangereux d'une frontière, qui est franchie en vivant une nouvelle expérience physique et une transformation. Cependant les conséquences du combat du héros ne se limitent pas seulement à acquérir une maturité psychique et émotionnelle plus grande, mais lui permettent aussi d'accéder à la maturité spirituelle. Traditionnellement le combat contre le monstre est ainsi lié au numineux, au sacré. Et souvent une force transcendante divine intervient au dernier moment pour permettre au héros de l'emporter.
Au coeur de notre vie imaginative, le symbole est un signe apparent qui représente de façon imagée une notion théorique, une idée sous-jacente, ou une vérité cachée. Le symbole représente l'effort des hommes pour traduire, sous une forme compréhensible, le sens de la destinée humaine, dont les obscurités lui échappent. Un héritage de symboles nous accompagne ainsi depuis des millénaires, qui synthétise les suggestions de l'inconscient collectif. Derrière les symboles, des vérités cachées se dissimulent, transmises par le folklore, les croyances, les légendes, les mythes, les contes de fées. Dans certains cas particuliers, les symboles sont réservés aux initiés des cultes, des sectes ou des mystères à caractère religieux.
Il y a presque dix ans, George Beahm , l'auteur de plusieurs ouvrages biographiques et de critique sur King, annonçait dans ses projets immédiats une oeuvre sur le base-ball: «Il y a un livre sur le base-ball qui me travaille. Je n'en parlerai pas parce qu'il est celui qui est le plus prêt à mûrir». King a répété plusieurs fois qu'il pensait à quelque chose sur ce sport, mais rien n'a été publié à ce jour si on excepte un article, Head Down. Par contre, dans The Girl who loved Tom Gordon, avec comme personnage un joueur de l'équipe des Boston Red Sox , le base-ball sera sans doute en première ligne... C'est l'occasion d'examiner les rapports passionnés qu'entretient King avec ce sport depuis son enfance. Son admiration pour les Red Sox ne date pas d'hier. L'année où King enseignait à l'Université du Maine, les Sox ont remporté le championnat contre les Yankees: "Il annula prestement sa classe pour faire la fête.
Stephen King donnant dans la tendresse, voilà ce qui s'annonçait depuis quelque temps. Le vert paradis de l'enfance l'a toujours fasciné et il nous a donné, en plus de la novella Le Corps et du roman Ça, plusieurs portraits craquants de jeunes enfants, de ceux de Simetierre à la petite Kyra du précédent Sac d'os. Donc coule dans ce dernier roman, plus court que les productions habituelles de King, une source vive de tendresse particulière, celle qui avait surpris les lecteurs dans les jeunes amours de Roland de Gilead et de Susan dans le récent Magie et Cristal.
Le seul personnage de pré-adolescent auquel un roman entier fut consacré est celui du jeune Jack, dans Le Talisman (que King et Straub vont poursuivre, alors que Jack a la trentaine, dans un prochain Talisman 2). Jack voulait découvrir le globe magique qui sauverait sa mère malade, et effectuait vaillamment sa recherche de la côte est à la côte ouest des USA, en passant de-ci de-là dans le monde parallèle des Territoires. Mais de nombreux gadgets intervenaient dans la quête initiatique de Jack, diversifiant certes le roman, mais en estompant en partie les particularités de l'évolution du héros, qui perdait en richesse et en nuances.
Rien de tel avec La fille qui aimait Tom Gordon, un récit intimiste touchant, la simplicité et la force réunis, prenant, qui joue la carte de la sentimentalité. Surtout un roman qui n'utilise pas les gros effets habituels d'un King, qui joue à faire peur et se faire peur, et que j'ai toujours trouvés excessifs. J'ai en son temps déploré qu'il n'ait pu s'empêcher de les utiliser pendant une cinquantaine de pages dans Sac d'os, ce qui m'a gâché en partie le roman, par ailleurs remarquable.
Trisha, neuf ans, s'est perdue dans les vastes forêts qui s'étendent du Maine au Canada. La petite fille de la ville, qui s'est, jusqu'ici, promenée avec sa mère dans des bois "pour de rire", se retrouve dans une forêt "pour de vrai." Seule, au milieu d'un univers où ses connaissances de citadine ne lui sont que d'un piètre secours, et ne disposant que d'une gamme réduite de comportements efficaces. En quelques heures, la petite fille des villes se mue en "petite fille des cavernes", qui doit tout apprendre par elle-même. Trisha, qui a peur du noir, va affronter la nuit dans la forêt, la solitude, l'inconnu. Elle a soif, faim, se nourrit de fougères et de baies, boit l'eau de ruisseaux qui la rend malade. Sa progression dans la forêt où, incapable de s'orienter, elle s'éloigne peu à peu des zones habitées, devient vite un calvaire, son chemin du Golgotha. Elle vit "au centre d'une noire et tourbillonnante galaxie d'insectes", piquée constamment par les moustiques, sucée par les moucherons, subissant le féroce assaut de guêpes sauvages. Elle s'enlise dans les marais, longe des précipices qui lui font craindre la chute. Bref, elle vit l'initiation des garçons passant à l'âge adulte chez des peuples archaïques dans ce qu'elle avait de plus sévère. Elle se demande à chaque instant quelles autres horreurs elle devra affronter, qu'elle est incapable d'imaginer. Elle tombe malade au bout de quelques jours, vomit, a la diarrhée. Et bien obligée d'accepter des conduites contraires à celles qu'on lui a enseignées, comme manger le poisson cru ou boire de l'eau polluée... Quand elle se regarde dans une eau dormante , elle se trouve "l'air d'une morte, d'un cadavre."
La grande vivacité d'esprit de Trisha est
animée par la volonté farouche de survivre. Trisha
affronte tous ces dangers avec des pleurs, des hurlements, des crises
de désespoir, qui alternent avec des réflexions
pertinentes de bon sens, de l'humour, des moments d'euphorie et
d'exaltation devant ses réussites. Toujours avec
résolution. Elle plie, mais ne rompt pas. Elle est soutenue
psychologiquement, durant les neuf jours de son odyssée, par
le souvenir et la présence imaginée de son idole, le
joueur de base-ball Tom Gordon. Elle l'écoute dans ses
activités de joueur le soir avec son walkman qu'elle utilise
parcimonieusement. Tom, auquel elle voue un véritable culte,
converse avec elle, lui explique notamment les raisons de son
efficacité. Son Dieu protège Tom Gordon, qui lui fait
gagner les points décisifs en fin de partie, quand la
situation est désespérée pour son équipe
et qu'il est appelé en dernier recours. L'immobilité
avant le coup, l'index levé vers le ciel en signe de
reconnaissance quand le point est marqué, voilà qui
fascine Trisha. Ces gestes qui la sauveront lui seront plus utiles
que les conseils diététiques pour éviter le
cholestérol que lui a donnés sa mère...
Cette fois, King a relié un mythe moderne,
celui du sport, au rituel ancien du geste magique salvateur. Le
parcours de Trisha sera intégralement celui d'une initiation,
le processus qui permet de réaliser psychologiquement le
passage d'un état jugé inférieur, à un
état reconnu comme supérieur, qui plongera en quelques
jours Trisha dans l'adolescence, et même en partie dans
l'âge adulte. Car nécessairement, avant de s'en sortir
définitivement, Trisha aura à affronter
l'épreuve ultime. Le combat singulier contre son monstre, la
Chose, la Bête, qu'elle a constamment sentie autour d'elle
durant ses pérégrinations sans la voir, n'observant que
ses traces et les restes des victimes animales qui ont
constitué sa pâture. Un mystérieux
émissaire l'a prévenu, un moine noir, l'envoyé
de la Chose, le Dieu des Égarés, qui la convoite et
l'attend. Le dieu de Tom Gordon contre celui du moine noir.
C'est un récit fascinant que celui des tentatives opiniâtres de Trisha pour éviter les multiples dangers qui la menacent. Sur un sujet bien mince, King a su écrire une oeuvre éclatante de fraîcheur et de vaillance enfantine, qui ne l'empêche pas de traiter ses thèmes familiers : l'enfance et son imaginaire, la quête vernienne initiatique, la nécessité d'un modèle de vie, la place de la seconde voix, le combat contre le monstre, l'intervention divine dans les actions des hommes. Le genre de roman qu'en plus on termine la gorge serrée...
Ce roman de tension psychologique intense, mais
obtenue avec des moyens retenus, plaira sans doute moins aux fans
épris de gore. Pourtant King a su exprimer toutes les nuances
de la peur sans se sentir obligé d'utiliser la grosse
machinerie de l'horreur. Et avec quelle sensibilité! Quelle
habileté dans la description des réactions enfantines!
Quelle variété dans les effets! Un auteur qui n'est pas
reconnu à son vrai mérite, et qui figurerait parmi les
plus grands de son temps s'il se décidait à se
débarrasser des oripeaux inutiles dont il se sent
obligé d'habiller toutes les peurs.
Roland Ernould, 06/04/2000
Résumé figurant sur le site officiel de Stephen King:
Set in New England, The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, is the emotionally gripping tale of nine-year-old Trisha, who gets lost in the woods while on a walk with her family. Her only comforts are her radio broadcasts of Boston Red Sox games featuring her favorite player, closing pitcher Tom Gordon. Lonely, frightened, starving, and cold, Gordon becomes Trisha's imaginary companion--and the key to her survival against an unidentified someone or something leaving death and destruction in its wake.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon is scheduled to go on sale the same week the Red Sox open their 1999 season in Kansas City.
L'histoire : une petite fille, Tricia McFarlane, dont les parents sont divorcés depuis peu, part se promener dans les bois avec sa mère et son frère. Elle se perd, elle prend peur.
C'est ce qu'elle imagine qui sera le substrat du récit. Comme elle a emporté avec elle un walkman, elle écoute la radio. Un match de base-ball desBoston Red Sox, dont elle est une fan. Elle est une grande admiratrice de Tom Gordon, un des joueurs. Tom occupe une place de plus en plus grande dans son esprit et joue un rôle important dans l'histoire.
224 pages. Première édition: 1.250.000 exemplaires.
If books were babies, I'd call The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon the result of an unplanned pregnancy. I got the idea-during a game at Fenway Park, naturally-last July, resisted it for six weeks or so, and finally gave up. The story wanted to be written, that was all. I knew it was going to take up most of the r & r I'd been looking forward to after two years of almost nonstop writing (Bag of Bones, Hearts in Atlantis), and I knew it would be a difficult journey, but none of that mattered to the story. It never does. Stories want only one thing: to be born. If that's inconvenient, too bad.
My idea was to write a kind of fairy-tale, "Hansel and Gretel" without Hansel. My heroine would be a child of divorce living with her mother and maintaining a meaningful connection with her father mostly through their mutual love of baseball and the Boston Red Sox. Lost in the woods, she'd find herself imagining that her favorite Red Sox player was with her, keeping her company and guiding her through the terrible situation in which she found herself. Tom Gordon, #36, would be that player. Gordon is a real pitcher for the Red Sox; without his consent I wouldn't have wanted to publish the book. He did give it, for which I am deeply grateful.
He began his career as a starting pitcher with the Kansas City Royals, and came to the Red Sox in the mid-nineties. As a starter, he was good but not great. Then, in an inspired move which came late in 1997, Red Sox pitching coach Joe Kerrigan decided to try Tom Gordon as a closer. In this role, Gordon was not good but greatÖand in 1998 he passed greatness and achieved brilliance.
Closers are relatively new figures on the baseball scene; they gained prominence in the 70s, when managers began to use a certain type of pitcher in the final inning or two. These were guys who could take the mound with two on, nobody out, and the opposing club's best hitter at the plate, and still throw unhittable strikes. They were used mostly in situations where their club was clinging to a slim (three runs or less) lead. In the last two decades, such pitchers-Al Hrabowsky, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Dennis Eckersley, and the notorious Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams-have become as well-known as the George Bretts and Jose Cansecos. In 1998, Tom Gordon joined this exclusive club.
Between May and September, Gordon saved forty-four games for the Red Sox, almost half of the club's total wins. I saw many of these saves on TV or at the ballpark (others, like those Trisha McFarland listens to while lost, I heard on the radio), and was as thrilled by Gordon's exploits as any other New England fan of our Bambino-cursed but much loved Red Sox. And at some point I noticed what one character in The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon calls "that pointin thing."
After each successful save, Tom Gordon points briefly at the sky, giving the credit to the God of his understanding. It isn't a showy gesture, but it is clear and definite. Watching it, I began to think about survival stories I had read-sailors adrift in open boats, climbers stuck on mountain faces, hikers lost in the woods. Some people in these situations die quickly and almost without trying to survive, it seems (in his marvelously witty and deeply serious book-length essay, A Walk in the Woods, New Hampshire writer Bill Bryson touches on this). Others, however, fight with a tenacity which passes out of the remarkable and begins to seem nearly supernatural. These survivors, it seems, all have one thing in common: they felt that, during their ordeal, they had access to a power greater than themselves.
I have been writing about God-the possibility of God and the consequences for humans if God does indeed exist-for twenty years now, ever since The Stand. I have no interest in preaching or in organized religion, and no patience with zealots who claim to have the one true pipeline to the Big GuyÖbut it seems to me that a little girl lost in the millions of square acres of forest west of Augusta would need someone or something to come in and at least try to get the save on her behalf. Hence, the story that you will soon be selling.
The Girl Who Love Tom Gordon isn't about Tom Gordon or baseball, and not really about love, either. It's about survival, and God ("I point because it's the nature of God to come on in the bottom on the ninth," Trisha's imaginary Tom Gordon tells her), and it's about God's opposite as well. Because Trisha isn't alone in her wanderings. There is something else in the woods-the God of the Lost is how she comes to think of it-and in time she'll have to face it.
I hope you like this book. It's short, but I think it packs much the same can't-quit-reading punch as Carrie, Misery, Rage, and The Long Walk. And thanks for giving me some of your time.
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by Stephen King, Scribner, 1999.
* * * Pregame
The world had teeth and it could bite you with them anytime it wanted. Trisha McFarland discovered this when she was nine years old. At ten o'clock on a morning in early June she was sitting in the back seat of her mother's Dodge Caravan, wearing her blue Red Sox batting practice jersey (the one with 36 GORDON on the back) and playing with Mona, her doll. At ten thirty she was lost in the woods. By eleven she was trying not to be terrified, trying not to let herself think, This is serious, this is very serious. Trying not to think that sometimes when people got lost in the woods they got seriously hurt. Sometimes they died.
All because I needed to pee, she thought... except she hadn't needed to pee all that badly, and in any case she could have asked Mom and Pete to wait up the trail a minute while she went behind a tree. They were fighting again, gosh what a surprise that was, and that was why she had dropped behind a little bit, and without saying anything. That was why she had stepped off the trail and behind a high stand of bushes. She needed a breather, simple as that. She was tired of listening to them argue, tired of trying to sound bright and cheerful, close to screaming at her mother, Let him go, then! If he wants to go back to Malden and live with Dad so much, why don't you just let him? I'd drive him myself if I had a license, just to get some peace and quiet around here! And what then? What would her mother say then? What kind of look would come over her face? And Pete. He was older, almost fourteen, and not stupid, so why didn't he know better? Why couldn't he just give it a rest? Cut the crap was what she wanted to say to him (to both of them, really), just cut the crap.
The divorce had happened a year ago, and their mother had gotten custody. Pete had protested the move from suburban Boston to southern Maine bitterly and at length. Part of it really was wanting to be with Dad, and that was the lever he always used on Mom (he understood with some unerring instinct that it was the one he could plant the deepest and pull on the hardest), but Trisha knew it wasn't the only reason, or even the biggest one. The real reason Pete wanted out was that he hated Sanford Middle School.
In Malden he'd had it pretty well whipped. He'd run the computer club like it was his own private kingdom; he'd had friends -- nerds, yeah but they went around in a group and the bad kids didn't pick on them. At Sanford Middle there was no computer club and he'd only made a single friend, Eddie Rayburn. Then in January Eddie moved away, also the victim of a parental breakup. That made Pete a loner, anyone's game. Worse, a lot of kids laughed at him. He had picked up a nickname which he hated: Pete's CompuWorld.
On most of the weekends when she and Pete didn't go down to Malden to be with their father, their mother took them on outings. She was grimly dedicated to these, and although Trisha wished with all her heart that Mom would stop -- it was on the outings that the worst fights happened -- she knew that wasn't going to happen. Quilla Andersen (she had taken back her maiden name and you could bet Pete hated that, too) had the courage of her convictions. Once, while staying at the Malden house with Dad, Trisha had heard their father talking to his own Dad on the phone. "If Quilla had been at Little Big Horn, the Indians would have lost," he said, and although Trisha didn't like it when Dad said stuff like that about Mom -- it seemed babyish as well as disloyal -- she couldn't deny that there was a nugget of truth in that particular observation.
Over the last six months, as things grew steadily worse between Mom and Pete, she had taken them to the auto museum in Wiscasset, to the Shaker Village in Gray, to The New England Plant-A-Torium in North Wyndham, to Six-Gun City in Randolph, New Hampshire, on a canoe trip down the Saco River, and on a skiing trip to Sugarloaf (where Trisha had sprained her ankle, an injury over which her mother and father had later had a screaming fight; what fun divorce was, what really good fun).
Sometimes, if he really liked a place, Pete would give his mouth a rest. He had pronounced Six-Gun City "for babies," but Mom had allowed him to spend most of the visit in the room where the electronic games were, and Pete had gone home not exactly happy but at least silent. On the other hand, if Pete didn't like one of the places their Mom picked (his least favorite by far had been the Plant-A-Torium; returning to Sanford that day he had been in an especially boogery frame of mind), he was generous in sharing his opinion. "Go along to get along" wasn't in his nature. Nor was it in their mother's, Trisha supposed. She herself thought it was an excellent philosophy, but of course everyone took one look at her and pronounced her her father's child. Sometimes that bothered her, but mostly she liked it.
Trisha didn't care where they went on Saturdays, and would have been perfectly happy with a steady diet of amusement parks and mini-golf courses just because they minimized the increasingly horrible arguments. But Mom wanted the trips to be instructive, too -- hence the Plant-A-Torium and Shaker Village. On top of his other problems, Pete resented having education rammed down his throat on Saturdays, when he would rather have been up in his room, playing Sanitarium or Riven on his Mac. Once or twice he had shared his opinion ("This sucks!" pretty well summed it up) so generously that Mom had sent him back to the car and told him to sit there and "compose himself" until she and Trisha came back. Trisha wanted to tell Mom she was wrong to treat him like he was a kindergartener who needed a time-out -- that someday they'd come back to the van and find it empty, Pete having decided to hitchhike back to Massachusetts -- but of course she said nothing. The Saturday outings themselves were wrong, but Mom would never accept that. By the end of some of them Quilla Andersen looked at least five years older than when they had set out, with deep lines grooved down the sides of her mouth and one hand constantly rubbing her temple, as if she had a headache...but she would still never stop. Trisha knew it. Maybe if her mother had been at Little Big Horn the Indians still would have won, but the body-count would have been considerably higher.
This week's outing was to an unincorporated township in the western part of the state. The Appalachian Trail wound through the area on its way to New Hampshire. Sitting at the kitchen table the night before, Mom had shown them photos from a brochure. Most of the pictures showed happy hikers either striding along a forest trail or standing at scenic lookouts, shading their eyes and peering across great wooded valleys at the time-eroded but still formidable peaks of the central White Mountains.
Pete sat at the table, looking cataclysmically bored, refusing to give the brochure more than a glance. For her part, Mom had refused to notice his ostentatious lack of interest. Trisha, as was increasingly her habit, became brightly enthusiastic. These days she often sounded to herself like a contestant on a TV game show, all but peeing in her pants at the thought of winning a set of waterless cookware. And how did she feel to herself these days? Like glue holding together two pieces of something that was broken. Weak glue.
Quilla had closed the brochure and turned it over. On the back was a map. She tapped a snaky blue line. "This is Route 68," she said. "We'll park the car here, in this parking lot." She tapped a little blue square. Now she traced one finger along a snaky red line. "This is the Appalachian Trail between Route 68 and Route 302 in North Conway, New Hampshire. It's only six miles, and rated Moderate. Well...this one little section in the middle is marked Moderate-to-Difficult, but not to the point where we'd need climbing gear or anything."
She tapped another blue square. Pete was leaning his head on one hand, looking the other way. The heel of his palm had pulled the left side of his mouth up into a sneer. He had started getting pimples this year and a fresh crop gleamed on his forehead. Trisha loved him, but sometimes -- last night at the kitchen table, as Mom explained their route, for example -- she hated him, too. She wanted to tell him to stop being a chicken, because that was what it came down to when you cut to the chase, as their Dad said. Pete wanted to run back to Malden with his little teenage tail between his legs because he was a chicken. He didn't care about Mom, didn't care about Trisha, didn't even care if being with Dad would be good for him in the long run. What Pete cared about was not having anyone to eat lunch with on the gym bleachers. What Pete cared about was that when he walked into homeroom after the first bell someone always yelled, "Hey CompuWorld! Howya doon, homo-boy?"
"This is the parking lot where we come out," Mom had said, either not noticing that Pete wasn't looking at the map or pretending not to. "A van shows up there around three. It'll take us back around to our car. Two hours later we're home again, and I'll haul you guys to a movie if we're not too tired. How does that sound?"
Pete had said nothing last night, but he'd had plenty to say this morning, starting with the ride up from Sanford. He didn't want to do this, it was ultimately stupid, plus he'd heard it was going to rain later on, why did they have to spend a whole Saturday walking in the woods during the worst time of the year for bugs, what if Trisha got poison ivy (as if he cared), and on and on and on.
Yatata-yatata-yatata. He even had the gall to say he should be home studying for his final exams. Pete had never studied on Saturday in his life, as far as Trisha knew. At first Mom didn't respond, but finally he began getting under her skin. Given enough time, he always did. By the time they got to the little dirt parking area on Route 68, her knuckles were white on the steering wheel and she was speaking in clipped tones which Trisha recognized all too well. Mom was leaving Condition Yellow behind and going to Condition Red. It was looking like a very long six-mile walk through the western Maine woods, all in all.
At first Trisha had tried to divert them, exclaiming over barns and grazing horses and picturesque graveyards in her best oh-wow-it's-waterless-cookware voice, but they ignored her and after awhile she had simply sat in the back seat with Mona on her lap (her Dad liked to call Mona Moanie Balogna) and her knapsack beside her, listening to them argue and wondering if she herself might cry, or actually go crazy. Could your family fighting all the time drive you crazy? Maybe when her mother started rubbing her temples with the tips of her fingers, it wasn't because she had a headache but because she was trying to keep her brains from undergoing spontaneous combustion or explosive decompression, or something.
To escape them, Trisha opened the door to her favorite fantasy. She took off her Red Sox cap and looked at the signature written across the brim in broad black felt-tip strokes; this helped get her in the mood. It was Tom Gordon's signature. Pete liked Mo Vaughn, and their Mom was partial to Nomar Garciaparra, but Tom Gordon was Trisha's and her Dad's favorite Red Sox player. Tom Gordon was the Red Sox closer; he came on in the eighth or ninth inning when the game was close but the Sox were still on top. Her Dad admired Gordon because he never seemed to lose his nerve -- "Flash has got icewater in his veins," Larry McFarland liked to say -- and Trisha always said the same thing, sometimes adding that she liked Gordon because he had the guts to throw a curve on three-and-oh (this was something her father had read to her in a Boston Globe column). Only to Moanie Balogna and (once) to her girlfriend, Pepsi Robichaud, had she said more. She told Pepsi she thought Tom Gordon was "pretty good-looking." To Mona she threw caution entirely to the winds, saying that Number 36 was the handsomest man alive, and if he ever touched her hand she'd faint. If he ever kissed her, even on the cheek, she thought she'd probably die.
Now, as her mother and her brother fought in the front seat -- about the outing, about Sanford Middle School, about their dislocated life -- Trisha looked at the signed cap her Dad had somehow gotten her in March, just before the season started, and thought this:
I'm in Sanford Park, just walking across the playground to Pepsi's house on an ordinary day. And there's this guy standing at the hotdog wagon. He's wearing blue jeans and a white T-shirt and he's got a gold chain around his neck -- he's got his back to me but I can see the chain winking in the sun. Then he turns around and I see...oh I can't believe it but it's true, it's really him, it's Tom Gordon, why he's in Sanford is a mystery but it's him, all right, and oh God his eyes, just like when he's looking in for the sign with men on base, those eyes, and he smiles and says he's a little lost, he wonders if I know a town called North Berwick, how to get there, and oh God, oh my God I'm shaking, I won't be able to say a word, I'll open my mouth and nothing will come out but a little dry squeak, what Dad calls a mousefart, only when I try I can speak, I sound almost normal, and I say...
I say, he says, then I say and then he says: thinking about how they might talk while the fighting in the front seat of the Caravan drew steadily farther away. (Sometimes, Trisha had decided, silence was life's greatest blessing.) She was still looking fixedly at the signature on the visor of her baseball cap when Mom turned into the parking area, still far away (Trish is off in her own world was how her father put it), unaware that there were teeth hidden in the ordinary texture of things and she would soon know it. She was in Sanford, not in TR-90. She was in the town park, not at an entry-point to the Appalachian Trail. She was with Tom Gordon, Number 36, and he was offering to buy her a hotdog in exhange for directions to North Berwick.
Copyright © 1999 by Stephen King
Avec mes remerciements à Simon & Schuster, Inc. Copyright (© 1998) http://www.SimonSays.com/king
To become a new SimonSays.com Stephen King subscriber, or to sign up for additional categories, visit http://www.simonsays.com/email_update.cfm
Subject: Stephen King Update: Sneak Preview!
Date: 18 Mar 1999 16:08:51 -0500
Attention Stephen King Fan : The countdown is on -- Stephen King's latest book, THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON, will hit stores in just a few short weeks. This "surprise" novel, inspired by King's love of baseball and the Boston Red Sox, even caught our author off-guard.
"If books were babies, I'd call THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON the result of an unplanned pregnancy," King admits. More than a story on America's favorite pastime, or on Red Sox relief pitcher Tom Gordon, this thrilling new adventure is about survival. Nine-year-old Trisha McFarland wanders off the path during a six-mile hike on the Maine-New Hampshire branch of the Appalachian Trail, and finds herself terrified and alone. With only her Walkman to keep her company, Trisha finds comfort tuning in to broadcasts of the Boston Red Sox games, with her hero, Tom Gordon. A classic story that engages our emotions at the most primal level, THE GIRL WHO LOVED TOM GORDON explores our deep dread of the unknown and the extent to which faith can conquer it. And now you can read an excerpt of the book before anyone else does. At the end of this message, we've included the first chapter, "The Pregame." It's King at his best, and this initial glimpse will leave you wanting more -- as if King would have it any other way! But don't worry, you won't have to wait too long...the book will be in stores April 6. In the meantime, check out our Stephen King bulletin board at http://www.simonsays.com/bbs/king1bbs/secure/bbs.cgi to meet other King fans and spread your King knowledge! Stay tuned for more details... SimonSays.
Avec mes remerciements à Simon & Schuster, Inc. Copyright (© 1998) http://www.SimonSays.com/king
Article du New York Now | Television | ,Thursday, February 20, 1999
Stephen King has been a Sox fan for 40 years, a season ticket-holder for more than a decade, and now he's used the Olde Towne Team as a vehicle for his latest novella, ''The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.''
Tom Gordon is flattered.
''I think it's an unbelievable thing,'' the Sox closer said yesterday after throwing at the team's minor league complex. ''I've always enjoyed Stephen King's work. My whole family is a big fan of his.''
King is in Florida visiting family and plans to hang out with Flash sometime next week. Gordon, an early arrival at Sox camp, will join the rest of Boston's pitchers and catchers for the first formal workout tomorrow afternoon.
Flash is thinking about going fishing when his new best friend and author comes to Fort Myers. ''I'm going to try to see if I can charter a boat,'' he said. ''I'd like to take him deep sea fishing. And if he hangs around, maybe we'll hit the golf course.''
''[King] wrote me a letter sometime around last October,'' said Gordon, ''but I didn't get it until I came up for the Baseball Writers' Dinner in January. Since then I've met Stephen and his wife. He's a great man. And his wife and my mom got along great.''
Gordon said he's always been a fan of the mystery man. He said his favorite King work is the film version of ''The Shawshank Redemption.''
King knows his way around the ballfield. He went to his first Red Sox game at Fenway in 1959 and saw Al Kaline homer in a rain-shortened Detroit victory. He claims he went to Fenway at least once a year for the next 10 years and never saw the Red Sox lose.
The best-selling author was teaching at the University of Maine during the 1978 season and canceled classes after the Red Sox lost their one-game playoff to the Yankees. He wrote a piece in The New Yorker about his son's championship Little League field and built a $1.5 million ballpark for Bangor.
King was first to predict that a Red Sox-Cubs World Series might trigger the apocalypse - ''Red Sox win three, Cubs win three, and then nuclear war breaks out.'' If the Red Sox ever go up for sale, King would be a logical prospective buyer. And wouldn't that be a perfect match.
This is hardly the first time the Red Sox have crossed into pop culture. Sam Malone of ''Cheers'' fame was supposed to be a former Red Sox pitcher, and Fenway Park has been used as a prop for a range of television shows and movies, including ''Ally McBeal'' and ''Field of Dreams.'' Ted Williams was the subject of a legendary story by John Updike, and Jimmy Piersall's life story was made into a book and movie, starring Anthony Perkins of ''Psycho'' fame.
Gordon has not seen an early version of the novella, but said, ''I think he's got me signing a hat for her. She likes me as a player. I'm glad he made me a good guy in the book. I consider myself a good guy.''
King was unavailable yesterday, but last summer he talked about future works involving his love of baseball. The author said: ''I've often thought that I would like to write a story or even a novel where some columnist finds this old guy who's never seen the Red Sox lose. He's been to a lot of games and they find out that when they bring this guy into the park, they always win, so they prop him up and get to the World Series and the guy has a couple of strokes and a heart attack and they're still bringing him in. Of course, the kicker is, he dies before the seventh game.''
Sounds like a true baseball horror story. Meanwhile, Tom Gordon and the rest of us wait for ''The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon.''
Remerciements à Dan Shaughnessy, chroniqueur au Globe, et au ''The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon'' is scheduled to go on sale the same week the Red Sox open their 1999 season in Kansas City Boston Globe © Copyright 1999 Globe Newspaper Company.