Hough, John T., Jr. 1946-
HOUGH, John T., Jr. 1946-
PERSONAL: Surname rhymes with "puff"; born January 31, 1946, in York, PA; son of John T. and Mary (Kurtz) Hough. Education: Haverford College, B.A., 1968. Politics: "Farthest left edge of the Democratic Party." Religion: Episcopalian.
ADDRESSES: Home—15 Inman St., Apt. 1, West Tisbury, MA 02139.
CAREER: Falmouth Enterprise, Falmouth, MA, reporter, summers, 1966, 1967; Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), tutor and counselor in junior high school, Detroit, MI, 1968-69; member of staff of Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr., of Maryland, 1969-70; Massachusetts Correctional Association, Boston, writer and social worker (as conscientious objector, in lieu of military service), 1970-72; speech writer for Senator Charles McC. Mathias, Jr., 1976-77; New York Times, New York, NY, assistant to James Reston, Washington Bureau, beginning 1977; Falmouth Enterprise, columnist.
A Peck of Salt: A Year in the Ghetto, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1970.
A Two Car Funeral (novel), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1973.
The Guardian (novel), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1975.
The Conduct of the Game, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (San Diego, CA), 1986.
(With Gary Carter) A Dream Season, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (San Diego, CA), 1987.
A Player for the Moment: Notes from Fenway Park, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich (San Diego, CA), 1988.
The Last Summer (a novel), Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2002.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A Matter of Time, for Simon & Schuster.
SIDELIGHTS: John T. Hough, Jr., is a writer with a special bent for baseball stories. He has written nonfiction books on the topic, such as his A Dream Season and A Player for the Moment: Notes from Fenway Park. However, it was his 1986 novel, The Conduct of the Game, that caught the eye of Sports Illustrated reporter Jeremiah Tax. The novel conveys the story of Lee Malcolm, a young man who dreams of a professional career in sports but is one day pushed behind the plate in the role of umpire, a position that he grows to like and decides to pursue. By his mid-twenties, he is umpiring major league baseball rather successfully when a series of catastrophes hit him. He has a fight with one of the big superstar players, a dispute with some of the members of his umpire crew, a conflict with the women in his life, and a fateful encounter with a fellow umpire who is gay. Tax applauded Hough for handling all these challenges without becoming too melodramatic about them in his writing. However, the critic stated that there were moments when he wished that "Malcolm [the protagonist] were a bit brighter or more sophisticated than Hough's creation." Overall, Tax enjoyed the reading, stating that Hough "convincingly" develops his story and that "the finish to which he leads us is eminently satisfactory."
In 2002, Hough dropped the sports theme and wrote a love story, The Last Summer. The setting of the story is the late 1960s, and Hough touches on such real-life events as Robert Kennedy's murder and the riotous Democratic Convention in Chicago. He also incorporates a murder mystery theme, in which his female protagonist, ex-Senator Clair Malek, becomes involved.
Beth Warrell, for Booklist, found that Hough's writing was "quiet and lyrical;" while a critic from Kirkus Reviews thought that despite some overall "formulaic" plotting, the story was "spiced up" by Hough's incorporation of historic events and his ability to provide "real suspense."
According to a Publishers Weekly article by John F. Baker, Hough is working on a new novel to be titled A Matter of Time. It is another bittersweet romance set in the 1960s.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Best Sellers, October 15, 1970.
Booklist, June 1, 2002, Beth Warrell, review of The Last Summer, pp. 1683-1684.
Kirkus Reviews, May 15, 2002, review of The Last Summer, p. 686.
Publishers Weekly, April 29, 2002, review of The Last Summer, p. 38.
Sports Illustrated, May 19, 1986, Jeremiah Tax, review of The Conduct of the Game, p. 5.*