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The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
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The Art of Fielding (2011)

by Chad Harbach

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
2,6561912,250 (3.96)180
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» See also 180 mentions

English (185)  Dutch (4)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (191)
Showing 1-5 of 185 (next | show all)
I really loved the first 50 pages, but lost a bit of interest as the focus left Henry. (I was not a big fan of the Pella character.) I think I wanted more about baseball, and less about the lives of the other characters. That being said, the last 2 pages are super amazing! ( )
  Stahl-Ricco | Jan 23, 2016 |
I enjoyed parts of this book but struggled in the middle section. The last third was worth the struggle. It reminded me a lot of early John Irving: coming of age, male camaraderie, and quirky characters. ( )
  nljacobs | Jan 19, 2016 |
Really enjoyed this ( )
  mgriel | Jan 18, 2016 |
Set in the world of college baseball, The Art of Fielding is about aspiration, failure, and recovery. It also tells a compelling story, not only of Henry's challenges, doubts, and triumphs, but also of the love affairs and friendships that tie together the chief characters: Henry Skrimshander, the perfect shortstop until one error leads to a loss of confidence; Mike Schwartz, the mentor and teammate who guides Henry to potential greatness; Owen Dunne, Henry's gay college roommate whose love affair impacts all the other characters; Guert Affenlight, the college president who falls unexpectedly in love for the first time; and Pella Affenlight, his daughter, who is seeking a purpose for her life. All these unfolding stories make the novel very readable. These five characters are bound together in a struggle of love and betrayal that mirrors the art of fielding.

I thought the book was too long but possibly the author felt he needed it so the reader could understand the complexity of the five characters. I didn't love it as much as some of the other members of my book club. I enjoyed the first half but felt let down by the last half. At first I wasn't sure I would like it a book about baseball at all but I believe this is not a baseball novel, but a complex story of relationships and the connections between friends and teammates. ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
Audio book narrated by Holter Graham.

Henry Skrimshander is a baseball phenomenon from South Dakota who has landed at tiny Westish college, a school “in the crook of the baseball glove that is Wisconsin.” His future will become entwined with that of his roommate and teammate Owen Dunne, his mentor and team captain Mike Schwartz, the school president Guert Affenlight, and Guert’s daughter Pella, who returns home after her marriage fails.

When this book came out I was not enticed by the great reviews and general hoo-hah over its release. I just didn’t have any desire to read a book about baseball. Everyone told me that it was really not a baseball book, but I just wasn’t convinced. I never even added it to my tbr list. However, it’s a book-club selection, and the woman who suggested it is someone whose opinion I value, so I decided to give it a go.

There were parts of this book that really grabbed me; Harbach wrote so poetically about Henry’s skill as a short stop that he almost made me interested in baseball. But once Henry lost his confidence, I lost confidence in the book. The storyline seemed to lose momentum, and the middle part of the book just plodded along and stretched credulity too far for me. For example, the scene where Henry swims out into Lake Michigan at night …. Really? I’ve been in Lake Michigan off the coast of Door County in August and nearly froze my tush off. In Spring, Henry would have died of hypothermia in a few minutes. I thought all the characters behaved so immaturely, including (or especially) President Affenlight. Pella really irritated me, even more so because she was the only significant female character.

Holter Graham did a very good job performing the audio version. There were a couple of times when his voices for the many male characters sounded a little too much the same, but in general his skill was up to the task. I particularly liked the way he brought Henry and President Affenlight to life.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 185 (next | show all)
The book is a throwback to a bygone, if not universally mourned era when charismatic white male novelists wrote intelligent bestsellers, and one senses that it is intentionally so....It is a work of stridently unexperimental psychological realism, featuring likeable characters with cute nicknames, dramatic events that change people’s lives, easily identified and fully consummated narrative arcs, transparently conversational prose and big, obvious metaphors.

 
Wie aan dit boek begint, wordt een wereld binnengezogen waaruit je niet meer kunt en wilt ontsnappen.
Naast honkbalroman, bildungsroman en campusroman zou je De kunst van het veldspel ook een Melvilleroman kunnen noemen. Zonder dat het hinderlijk wordt (zelfs als je ze allemaal zou opmerken, wat geen lezer zich verbeelde), stikt het boek van de verwijzingen naar met name Moby Dick.
Dit klinkt als gewichtigdoenerij, maar maakt gewoon deel uit van de spitsvondige speelsheid die dit hele boek kenmerkt. De kunst van het veldspel is een jongensboek voor jongens en meisjes van alle leeftijden.
added by sneuper | editde Volkskrant, Hans Bouman (Jan 28, 2012)
 
Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding cross-breeds two genres with limited gene pools, the baseball novel and the campus novel, and comes up with a vigorous hybrid, entertaining and engrossing, though almost absurdly high-minded.
added by zhejw | editThe Guardian, Adam Mars-Jones (Jan 28, 2012)
 
It's easy to see why The Art of Fielding has done so well: it is charming, warm-hearted, addictive, and very hard to dislike....

The Art of Fielding feels like a novel from another, more innocent age. It revels in themes that have been unfashionable in literary fiction for generations – team spirit, male friendship, making the best of one's talents. In its optimism and lack of cynicism, in its celebration of the wide open spaces of the Midwest and its confidence in the deep inner meaning of baseball, it is a big American novel of the old school....

...it creates a richly peopled world that you can fully inhabit in your mind, and to which you long to return when you put it down.
added by zhejw | editThe Guardian, Theo Tait (Jan 12, 2012)
 
Centering on an imaginary northern Wisconsin private school and its baseball star-in-the-making Henry Skrimshander, Harbach sidesteps much of the familiar mythmaking that can go along with spinning the American pastime into literature and instead delivers a rich, warmly human story that resonates even if you have no idea what a 6-4-3 double play looks like.
added by zhejw | editLos Angeles Times, Chris Barton (Oct 16, 2011)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chad Harbachprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vermeulen, JorisTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
So be cheery, my lads
Let your hearts never fall
While the bold Harpooner
Is striking the ball.

--Westish College fight song
Dedication
For my family
First words
Schwartz didn't notice the kid during the game.
Quotations
Literature could turn you into an asshole; he'd learned that teaching grad-school seminars.  It could teach you to treat real people the way you did characters, as instruments of your own intellectual pleasure, cadavers on which to practice your critical faculties.
Talking was like throwing a baseball.  You couldn't plan it out beforehand.  You just had to let go and see what happened.  You had to throw out words without knowing whether anyone would catch them--you and to throw out words you knew no one would catch. You had to send your words out where they weren't yours anymore.  It felt better to talk with a ball in your hand, it felt better to let the ball do the talking.  But the world, the nonbaseball world, the world of love and sex and jobs and friends, was made of words.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Au Wetish College , petite université sur les rives du lac Michigan , Henry Skrimshander est devenu une véritable star du baseball: il conclut tous ses matches par un sans-faute . Jusqu'au jour où il rate un lancer facile . Son destin ainsi que celui de quatre personnes vont alors prendre un tour décisif.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316126691, Hardcover)

Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2011: Though The Art of Fielding is his fiction debut, Chad Harbach writes with the self-assurance of a seasoned novelist. He exercises a masterful precision over the language and pacing of his narrative, and in some 500 pages, there's rarely a word that feels out of place. The title is a reference to baseball, but Harbach's concern with sports is more than just a cheap metaphor. The Art of Fielding explores relationships--between friends, family, and lovers--and the unpredictable forces that complicate them. There's an unintended affair, a post-graduate plan derailed by rejection letters, a marriage dissolved by honesty, and at the center of the book, the single baseball error that sets all of these events into motion. The Art of Fielding is somehow both confident and intimate, simple yet deeply moving. Harbach has penned one of the year's finest works of fiction.--Kevin Nguyen

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:35 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

"At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big-league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended."--from publisher's description.… (more)

» see all 8 descriptions

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