"The Cactus League" By Emily Nemens

Jun 5, 2020

Emily Nemen’s The Cactus League, as the title tells us, is set in the Arizona desert, around Scottsdale, during spring training for major league baseball.  The novel is narrated by a sportscaster and while nominally the story of Jason Goodyear, the star outfielder for the fictional Los Angeles Lions, Goodyear’s story is interspersed with the stories of other richly drawn characters -- the batting coach, aging sports agent, the players, owners, ballpark staff and the hangers on.


Nemens keen eye for detail brings to life a connected web of people behind a seemingly linear game.  As said in the opening line of the favorable NYTimes review, “There are probably more good novels about baseball than any other sport.  More bad ones, too.  Emily Nemen’s The Cactus League definitely belongs in that first lineup.” 

Emily is the editor of the prestigious literary magazine, The Paris Review.

She was previously co-editor of The Southern Review and her work has been published in n+1, Esquire, and elsewhere.  A graduate of Brown University, with an MFA in creative writing from Louisiana State University, Emily is also an accomplished illustrator.