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The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The Art of Fielding (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Chad Harbach, Holter Graham (Narrator)

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2,8152002,067 (3.96)206
Title:The Art of Fielding
Authors:Chad Harbach
Other authors:Holter Graham (Narrator)
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (2011)

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» See also 206 mentions

English (194)  Dutch (4)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (200)
Showing 1-5 of 194 (next | show all)
I remember when this book first came out. It got such great reviews & was about baseball (a subject near & dear to me), & yet apparently appealed to many non-baseball fans. I had to get my hands on it and I did, and then life happened and it sat on my TBR pile for quite a long time. Several years later, and I finally was able to dig in.

It's a story about baseball, but lots of other dynamics are going on as well. There are five main characters, and each has his/her own issues. While portions of the plot were predictable, others were not.

I enjoyed this book, but have to admit to not enjoying it as much as I'd hoped. I think what bothered me the most was that I didn't particularly like any of the characters, and with a story as long as this one, it seemed as though I should've felt invested in at least one of the characters, but it didn't happen. Bottom line: enjoyable enough, but didn't feel that it lived up to the hype. ( )
  indygo88 | Oct 22, 2016 |
No, no, no, no…. NO! This is absolutely NOT the kind of novel we should be seeing on the 1001 list. Absolutely not. This is not a novel anyone needs to read before they die.

Harbach spent 10 years on this, his first novel. Margaret Mitchell also spent a decade crafting her first. Unlike Gone with the Wind though, The Art of Fielding is not, and never will be, a classic. While their novels have nothing in common, let’s hope that Harbach is inspired by the example Mitchell set of never writing another one again.

The Art of Fielding could have been a good novel. Instead, Harbach needed 3,650+ days to turn a good idea for a psychological novel about a baseball player hitting a run of bad form into a completely sterile and utterly predictable USAnian college drama.

For the academic plot, there’s the dean who has a fling with a student, there’s a dysfunctional parent-child relationship and, because one dysfunctional relationship can never be enough, a marriage on the rocks.

For the sport plot, there’s the jock, there’s the rookie, there’s the ageing, irascible, inscrutable coach and there’s the team who suck one year and win the nationals against all the odds the next.

Ooops… did I spoil it for you?

There’s romance, there’s drama, there’s comedy (well, attempts at it), and there are tears. It’s made for TV from the get go, and North American box-set-bingers will lap it up as they watch every loose end get tied into nice pretty pink bows.

If you’re into airport novels, this is right up your street. It’s an easy read, characters have predictable personalities and do predictable things, and the feel-good factor is laid on thick as everyone walks into the sunset in some kind of literary group hug. That’s what it is.

What it is not is a good novel. Get it off the 1001 list. ( )
  arukiyomi | Sep 11, 2016 |
Baseball, sexual orientation family strife and small town characters collide in this novel. Barbach has deft hand and you can just feel the smell of new cut grass of the field in this small town in Wisconsin. Also, it’s one of the few books on this list that speaks directly to people in my generation and doesn’t look down on the challenges we face. ( )
  Terence_Johnson | Sep 6, 2016 |
I was on hold to get this book from the library for seven months. It was definitely worth the wait. This book was fantastic. The writing was superb, the character development was first rate and I was enthralled by the story from start to finish. Often times books do not live up to the hype. This book is not in that category. All of the praise that has been heaped upon this book is justified. Truly excellent read. Highly recommend. ( )
  Maureen_McCombs | Aug 19, 2016 |
this was such a great read. an experience like reading this book is why i read. it's like that great wave you catch or that great drive you hit in golf that keeps you coming back. i'm a bit jealous because of all the publicity that this book got (he was first time author and sold it for a gob of money) because i want to be like chad, but if i'd paid $100 for this i'd have said it was worth it.

it's just a great story and it moved so well.

nice work, chad. ( )
  Joseph_W_Naus | Jul 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 194 (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)

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

--Westish College fight song
For my family
First words
Schwartz didn't notice the kid during the game.
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)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 8 descriptions

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