Some of the same figures who were either in on the plot to ensure she got a pass or who might have known about it likely still work for DoJ and the FBI. One of them — Rod Rosenstein — is currently the deputy attorney general.
Within society at large, homosexuality is becoming ever more accepted. Yet scores of soccer players — hundreds, probably — lead lives founded upon positively 19th-century levels of concealment.
Such questions are, for the most part, unanswerable. Already, at 19, Tom feels that his career is hanging in the balance: Will he ever make it back to the top flight? Lacking the wealth and glamour of the Premier League the captain — wait for it — is on two grand a week!
The world he conjures up is by no means pleasant. What emerges most forcefully is the sheer brutality of a system that wrenches immature young men from their families and then coops them up together, away from real life, before, very often, unceremoniously returning them to it.
For those who instinctively feel that all footballers are pampered brats, A Natural is a bracing corrective. The restraint of the writing here feels necessary, truthful: Frequently, reading A Natural, I was reminded of another novel about a young person pitched into an alien world.
Both novels are filtered through a similar consciousness: Both are written in deceptively simple prose that belies their urgency, the richness of their understanding. There are some flaws. A subplot that focuses on the domestic life of the two-grand-a-week captain is readable enough, but feels a little generic.
Just occasionally, the plotting seems forced: Raisin even triumphs in areas he has no right to, such as in making us believe that he knows what playing professional football feels like.
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