Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Powers

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

The Powers

Article excerpt


By Valerie Sayers (Northwestern University, 2013)


Any novel in which the characters converse with Hall of Fame Yankee slugger Joe DiMaggio and his roommate Lefty Gomez, Catholic Worker cofounder Dorothy Day, and photographer extraordinaire Walker Evans is worth a look for this reader. But The Powers is worth far more than that.

Valerie Sayers vividly portrays New York in the summer of 1941: the looming entry of America into World War II, news reports of Jews rounded up in Europe and Jewish refugees refused entry into the United States, Dorothy Day caring for the poor down on Mott Street, and Walker Evans surreptitiously snapping photos on the subway. And, front and center, Joe DiMaggio's amazing 56-game hitting streak, which began on May 15 against the Chicago White Sox and pounded along to its midsummer conclusion on July 16.

The Powers follows 17-year-old Agnes O'Leary and her squat, lame grandmother Babe, a passionate Yankee fan who has unhappily transplanted herself to her son's flat in Brooklyn, home of the despised Dodgers, to watch over his four daughters after his wife dies. …

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