The Legend of Jesse Smoke is the latest novel from one of my favorite people, Robert Bausch.
Robert Bausch is the author of multiple novels: On the Way Home; The Lives of Riley Chance; Almighty Me; A Hole in the Earth; The Gypsy Man; Out of Season; In the Fall They Come Back; Far as the Eye Can See; and most recently, The Legend of Jesse Smoke. In 1995, Bausch published a collection of short stories called The White Rooster and Other Stories.
Bobby was born in Georgia, at the end of World War II, and was raised in the Washington, D.C., area. He has worked as a salesman–of automobiles, appliances, and hardware–a taxi driver, waiter, production planner, and library assistant. He was educated at George Mason University, earning a BA, an MA and an MFA, and he says he has been a writer all his life. He spent time in the military teaching survival, and worked his way through college. Since 1975, Bausch has been a college professor, teaching creative writing, American literature, world literature, humanities, philosophy, and expository writing. He has taught at the University of Virginia, American University, George Mason University, and Johns Hopkins University. For the balance of his career he has been teaching at Northern Virginia Community College. He has also been a director on the board of the Pen-Faulkner Foundation. In 2009 he was awarded the John Dos Passos Prize in Literature.
About The Legend of Jesse Smoke
What would happen if a young athlete came along who could throw a football as well as John Elway or Peyton Manning? What if this person was as strong, quick, and resourceful as any of the great quarterbacks? And what if this person was a woman?
When Skip Granger, the assistant coach for the Washington Redskins, first sees Jesse Smoke, she is on the beach in Belize. And she has just thrown a regulation football a mile.
Granger knows that Smoke’s talent is unprecedented for a woman, and nearly unparalleled among men. As Granger observes her throughout a season as quarterback for the Washington Divas of the Independent Women’s Football League, he decides to sign her to the Redskins, even as he faces losing his job and credibility. As the first woman on a major NFL team, Jesse Smoke’s astounding success places her in the tradition of athletes like Jackie Robinson and Joe Louis. Yet Smoke is quickly faced with her own battles, including the clamors of the press, the violence of her teammates, and the institutional resistance that seeks to keep football in the hands of men.
While a female quarterback in the NFL is a fantasy at the moment, Robert Bausch’s genius as a writer makes it a highly engaging reality on the page. Fans of football–and readers who were just waiting for a player worth getting excited about–will relish Jesse Smoke’s journey to the big leagues.
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More from Bobby Online: Readings & Interviews
Happy Reading, Y’all!