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. Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future.
College President Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry's gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners' team captain and Henry's best friend, realizes he has guided Henry's career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert's daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.
As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process, they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths.
Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment - to oneself and to others.
©2011 Chad Harbach (P)2011 Hachette
"Reading The Art of Fielding is like watching a hugely gifted young shortstop: you keep waiting for the errors, but there are no errors. First novels this complete and consuming come along very, very seldom." (Jonathan Franzen)
"Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding is one of those rare novels--like Michael Chabon's Mysteries of Pittsburgh or John Irving's The World According to Garp--that seems to appear out of nowhere and then dazzles and bewitches and inspires until you nearly lose your breath from the enjoyment and satisfaction, as well as the unexpected news-blast that the novel is very much alive and well." (James Patterson)
"Chad Harbach has hit a game-ender with The Art of Fielding. It's pure fun, easy to read, as if the other Fielding had a hand in it - as if Tom Jones were about baseball and college life." (John Irving)
I am still new to the audio experience, so perhaps I was overexcited by this particular novel. But, damn, did I ever love this! Maybe I missed the structural criticisms (of the novel itself) I found on Amazon b/c I was seduced by Holter Graham’s fantastic narration -- but, honestly, I don’t think so. This is simply a great contemporary novel.
Story, character, plotting, structure, themes, writing, and narration all work well together. It may have some challenging themes and characters for some, but I found it to be a beautifully rendered story. As many have said, it is not really a novel about sports. However, at the same time, it very much is. Having been a very successful athlete in my younger years who experienced a crisis of confidence at one point, I can say that I have never encountered a truer rendition of said experience.
I would recommend this novel for lovers of Michael Chabon, Richard Russo, or Tom Perrotta.
An entertaining story which accurately depicts a slice of life at a small college in middle America. The strength of this novel are its characters. Quite simply, I was not prepared to say good-bye and I believe that is the best compliment that can be given to any novel. A marvelous story - a great performance by the narrator - and many enjoyable hours of listening.
A dusty baseball field in a podunk town and two men???s fates collide. Sound familiar? The stage may be familiar, but the story is not.
Harbach delivers a well written story with an interesting foray into some classic American literature as a backdrop. The unsuspecting Henry is noticed by Schwartz and from that turn of the head, that one minute of pause to watch something that caught the edge of his attention, lives are changed. Henry???s working class family is not impressed with Henry???s announcement that he will be playing college ball. Another encounter, this one taken with purpose in mind changes the attitude of Henry???s father. Henry is off to college in a rather unprepared whirlwind.
It is a story of many friendships, many loves, many families and how the warp and weave of their lives make the fabric of the story. The ending is not pat or easy. The characters were believable and interesting.
It is a good story. Worthy on its own as a really decent piece of literature and as a baseball story, the book delivers a good read.
I mostly listen to books while exercising, which pretty much explains all of the action/thrillers on my list.
This is a perfectly good story about a bunch of people on a small college campus, some of whom happen to be baseball players. But to pitch it is a huge insight into the game of baseball is misleading. Maybe it provides some insight for people who know nothing about the game, but that isn't me. It does provide some insight into what it is like to play the game seriously at a small DIII school that doesn't have much of an athletic budget, but even the interest of that was ruined by the horribly misogynistic comments abut the Amherst softball team in the closing chapters. I listened to the whole thing because I paid for it.....but I certainly can't see what the big hype is all about.
I loved this story. I am a baseball fan to begin with and I thought this book was amazingly genuine and accurate. The story is engaging and the baseball commentary is spot on.
I thought the story flowed effortlessly and remained engaging throughout. The baseball imagery and detail feels very authentic.
This is my first audiobook from audible.com, so I cannot compare. However, if this narration is indicative of the audiobook service, I give it my highest praise.
The breadth of characterization.
Mike Schwartz ( spelling)
Henry. His innocence and vulnerability are vividly portrayed.
Not having read the print version, I don't know how I could answer that in good faith.
I should have identified with Guert Affenlight, but Henry Skrimshander was the most interesting....or could have been had the character been more developed.
I enjoy his work. I especially enjoyed when speaking of Owen, Graham would slow the pace rather than attempt to change is voice unnaturally..
I finished it in four days so yes...it is a book that could be listened to for long periods of time.
The story went on longer than it should have.
Among the best audiobooks to which I've listened to date.
The story felt true and touched a number deep human connections and emotions.
I have not listened to other Holter Graham's performances
This was an excellent listen. The narrator did a superb job of differentiating the characters and the story itself is engrossing. Fans of John Iriving books will really enjoy this title.
There are no listener reviews for this title yet.
Report Inappropriate Content