Former Little League champion Kimitake 'Clyde' Koba finds strength in the belief that he is the reincarnation of Marilyn Monroe as he struggles to escape the ghost of his brother and his alcoholic father.
... engrossing ... Ortega-Medina’s captivating prose deftly pulls readers into the stories of both Clyde and Ralph, revealing the extreme emotional damage both suffered in their formative years that led to their evolution. The trauma experienced by Clyde is visible within the first paragraphs of the story and is often, at times, painful to read ... When Clyde reappears over half-way through the book, he is now a mature Marilyn–Clyde is very much in a different mental state than he was when last mentioned, giving the reader some pause. Or at the very least, leaving the reader craving for more explanation of what is otherwise left to their imagination ... What is clear is that Ortega-Medina is a clever storyteller ... Ortega-Medina hints at the dots to connect, eliciting a smile on the reader, encouraging them to flip back to previous sections and reread passages that will invariably take on new meaning. In this engaging way, the novel is a pleasure to read.
... is psychologically complex as it explores the consequences of mainstream society attempting to regulate nonconforming behavior. In it, authority figures lose their power and adolescents fall victim to their own instinctual excesses. A tight, Gothic tale of rejection, personal struggle, and acceptance, The Death of Baseball is a mirror that reflects back its characters’ destructive pasts, though neither are able to abandon or overcome them.
Ortega-Medina’s graphic prose is vivid, especially when describing the Israeli desert ... The author’s deft construction of this complex plot reflects his experience in creating short stories ... dark, disturbing ... Finely textured character development almost compensates for a depressing tale.