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The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
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The Art of Fielding (original 2011; edition 2012)

by Chad Harbach, Holter Graham (Narrator)

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2,3871802,615 (3.97)165
Member:Dawn1361
Title:The Art of Fielding
Authors:Chad Harbach
Other authors:Holter Graham (Narrator)
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Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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Work details

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (2011)

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» See also 165 mentions

English (172)  Dutch (4)  Italian (1)  German (1)  All languages (178)
Showing 1-5 of 172 (next | show all)
This was a book that completely captured me. I loved the characters, the wry humor, the frankness, and the grace of baseball underlying it all. It is a rare book that I want to re-read as soon as I've finished it, but this was one. ( )
  LaineyMac | Nov 6, 2014 |
The only two things I'll say about this book is that don't let the subject matter dissuade you from reading it. Yes, baseball is involved. No, you don't really need to enjoy or understand much about it to love this book.

The other thing is to not let the shaky start most characters have keep you from finishing the book. I pretty much hated every introduction but the author's ability to develop them makes the book cook along faster and faster until you reach that classic cliche: I didn't want the book to end. But rather than feel like there was story left untold, I felt the author got it exactly right, but I DIDN'T WANT TO LET THEM GO.

I don't know that this is a book I'll re-read, but it's a book I really loved reading! And I write a lot of 1-2 star reviews, I might add. ( )
  wjmcomposer | Nov 5, 2014 |
The only two things I'll say about this book is that don't let the subject matter dissuade you from reading it. Yes, baseball is involved. No, you don't really need to enjoy or understand much about it to love this book.

The other thing is to not let the shaky start most characters have keep you from finishing the book. I pretty much hated every introduction but the author's ability to develop them makes the book cook along faster and faster until you reach that classic cliche: I didn't want the book to end. But rather than feel like there was story left untold, I felt the author got it exactly right, but I DIDN'T WANT TO LET THEM GO.

I don't know that this is a book I'll re-read, but it's a book I really loved reading! And I write a lot of 1-2 star reviews, I might add. ( )
  wjmcomposer | Nov 5, 2014 |
Memorable quote, " Deep down, he thought , we all believe we're God. We secretly believe that the outcome of the game depends on us, even when we're only watching... Each of us, deep down, believes that the whole world issues from his own precious body... And then, deeper down, each of us knows he's wrong." ( )
  mnlohman | Oct 31, 2014 |
A lovely, easy to read coming of age story about college baseball players. Harbach does a great job of conveying the life-or-death intensity and "drama" that attend so many college aged kids as they grow up. And somehow did it without making me roll my eyes once. The real protagonist (in my view), Mike Schwartz, really made the book for me (he's the catcher, of course; I adore catchers). He's a tragically flawed hero who has aged before his time as he's learning his place in the world (he is still a college boy after all). I imagine some may think Henry is the protagonist of the book, but I see him more as the antagonist—not in the sense of villain, but in the sense of the one who disrupts or opposes and forces the others in story to act. For that matter, he is his own worst enemy. I enjoyed the Affenlight (the college president) and Owen ("the Buddha") subplot. The characters are vivid and lovable even when they're exasperating. And it's nice to see a real female in a boys-sports-coming-of-age book. Pella is the "glue" character who connects the plots and subplots, and while she mostly functions as a device for the male characters and their plots (sigh), she is a fully drawn character who is allowed to do some coming-of-age herself.

I happened to be reading this around the time I was reading some early P.G. Wodehouse public school stories, which made for a fun complement/contrast around the honor codes of boys and their games.

A bit of a SPOILER: my husband and I discussed some implausibility that stretched almost to the breaking point for us, about Henry's return to the baseball field. For DH, it was that Henry would be allowed back on the field, even if they had no other players to put out there. For me, it was that he would be drafted, even in the 33rd round. This plot point is not nearly as bad as the League of Their Own final game, which is just not to be believed, but we found we really had to give a little as readers who know a thing or two about baseball. In this and a few other bits about the closing action, such as the death and subsequent "burial at sea" and a few other aspects of the baseball games, Harbach has given his characters Odysseus-like labors and some convenient tidying up of the plot, but I'm ok with the level of implausibility in this story because I believed and cared about the characters and recognized in the story the kind of emotional veracity that most people's selective and embellished narratives of their own coming of age have. ( )
  charliesierra | Sep 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 172 (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.

 
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)
 
Chad Harbach makes the case for baseball, thrillingly, in his slow, precious and altogether excellent first novel, “The Art of Fielding.”
added by zhejw | editNew York Times, Gregory Cowles (Sep 9, 2011)
 
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:13 -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 7 descriptions

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