Playing Days: A Novel

Paperback | November 3, 2015

byBenjamin Markovits

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In print for the first time in the United States, acclaimed novelist Benjamin Markovits’s Playing Days is a mostly autobiographical narrative concerning the author’s season playing minor league professional basketball in Germany and the love affair with another player’s estranged wife that ushers him into adulthood.

Growing up in Texas, Ben experienced basketball as a mostly solitary pursuit, one he gave up after riding the bench in high school. But as his college classmates prepare for the real world, Ben is seized by an idea. All he needs is a video camera, an empty court, and his mother’s German citizenship.

Improbably, he lands a roster spot on a lower division pro team in Landshut, forty-five minutes outside of Munich. It’s Ben’s first taste of competition in years, not to mention his first job. And like most jobs, it’s defined by repetition, boredom, and gossip. There’s Charlie, the trash-talking mercenary from Chicago; the coach, Herr Henkel, a recently retired player anxious to justify his paycheck; and Karl (based on the author’s real life relationship with Dirk Nowitski), a gangly teenage prodigy flashing the raw talent that will make him an NBA star. As a group of men learn how to navigate one another, Ben falls in love with the young mother of a teammate’s child, and begins an affair that will change his life.

Wry, poignant, and tenderly observed, Playing Days is an evocative meditation on the joys of youth, the triumphs and terrors of post-college life, and one of the best books ever written about what basketball can mean to an American man.

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From the Publisher

In print for the first time in the United States, acclaimed novelist Benjamin Markovits’s Playing Days is a mostly autobiographical narrative concerning the author’s season playing minor league professional basketball in Germany and the love affair with another player’s estranged wife that ushers him into adulthood.Growing up in Texas,...

From the Jacket

“Excellent.”  —The Times (London)Growing up in Texas, Ben experienced basketball as a mostly solitary pursuit, one he gave up after riding the bench in high school. But as his college classmates prepare for the real world, Ben is seized by an idea. All he needs is a video camera, an empty court, and his mother’s German citizenship.Impr...

Benjamin Markovits grew up in Texas, London, Oxford and Berlin. He left an unpromising career as a professional basketball player to study the Romantics—an experience he wrote about in Playing Days, a fictional memoir forthcoming in the U.S. from Harper Perennial. He has written essays, stories and reviews for, among other publications...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 8 × 5.31 × 0.79 inPublished:November 3, 2015Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062376632

ISBN - 13:9780062376633

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“This unusual autobiographical episode is lit up by Markovits’ eye for psychological and social detail…Both matter of fact and acutely observant, it wears its wisdom with a shrug.”