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The Art of Fielding: A Novel | [Chad Harbach]

The Art of Fielding: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (1280 )
5 star
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4.1 (1077 )
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Story
4.3 (1071 )
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Georgia Plymouth, MA, United States 01-04-12
    Georgia Plymouth, MA, United States 01-04-12 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
    11
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    "Not for me"
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    Despite all the positive reviews I found this book disappointing. Flat narration, stilted dialogue and indifferent characters come to mind. I think this was the first audiobook I just couldn't finish, although I really tried.


    Would you ever listen to anything by Chad Harbach again?

    No


    How could the performance have been better?

    I am not sure. Although I did not care for the narrator, the book really did not help.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Dislike. I just kept dreading going back to it...


    5 of 6 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tiffany Greenville, NC, United States 11-29-11
    Tiffany Greenville, NC, United States 11-29-11 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Not worth your time"

    I simply don't know how this book made the top 20 books of the year on Amazon. I found it to be super boring and needlessly verbose. I wish that I could get the time back that I wasted listening to this book!

    17 of 22 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kim 11-16-11
    Kim 11-16-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    5
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    "WONDERFUL NEW NARRATOR! Worth the wait!!"

    This new recording is wonderful. I listened to a bit of the earlier edition, which just didn???t do this marvelous storytelling justice. Holter Graham has read some of my favorite audiobooks over the years, and The Art of Fielding has instantly become one of them. The characters Harbach has created seem real ??? I found myself holding my breath at tense moments, impatient to find out their fates. The plot was constantly surprising and very enjoyable. I highly recommend The Art of Fielding, one of my favorite titles of 2011.

    6 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    @mreils 08-21-13
    @mreils 08-21-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1
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    "Loved it"
    Any additional comments?

    Excellent book that I thoroughly enjoyed hearing. I couldn't hit pause! Definitely recommend this for anyone who enjoys a good campus novel: baseball fandom NOT a prereq.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R. Moore Virginia, USA 11-20-12
    R. Moore Virginia, USA 11-20-12 Member Since 2002
    HELPFUL VOTES
    97
    ratings
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    181
    36
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    2
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    "A few errors among the excellence"

    Not really a sports novel, though the baseball team is the general focus of the story.

    The good: The book has a couple of sports-related passages that are among the best I’ve ever read -- words that brought me back to those precious few times in my baseball days when I could do almost no wrong. (“You can’t follow me here,” those mild blue eyes seemed to say. “You’ll never know what this is like.”) There is also some top-notch writing in other parts of the book.

    The bad: There’s some unevenness in the writing. I just couldn’t buy into one of the main relationships; it didn’t seem believable. The ending was decent, but didn’t resolve one of the main issues. Not that it particularly needed to, I suppose, but I was hoping for just a bit more. (I could say more, but I don’t want to get into spoilers.)

    Back to the good: The story was such that I looked forward to each new listening opportunity (audiobook), and because of the promise Harbach shows an author, I look forward to his next book. For all this, I’ll bump the rating up from three stars to four.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rita Alexandria, VA, United States 02-13-12
    Rita Alexandria, VA, United States 02-13-12 Member Since 2012

    Rita

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great book!! Loved it!"

    I spent a lot of time in my driveway listening to this book in my car. It was so good that I didn't want to turn it off. You love all these characters so beautifully described. You want this young baseball player to make it to the big leagues. It's not just about baseball--it's about lives and how they are ever changing and growing. A really good book! I'm recommending it to my book club and everyone else I know!

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sally Harrison-Pepper 12-20-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    520
    12
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    "Beware: iPod Freezer!"
    Any additional comments?

    Long time Audible member & never had a problem before. But this download repeatedly froze my iPod. I tried downloading again, and then downloading at lower quality. Nothing worked. Had to get a refund on this one. And I really was enjoying the story a lot!

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fran 11-11-11
    Fran 11-11-11
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Annoying narrator ruins great story"

    I've heard great things about this book but the narrator's repetitive, unwavering cadence never allows me to lose myself in the story. I'm two or three hours in and considering abandoning it. Mr. Graham's delivery chops up the sentences into an odd, sing-song iambic pentameter. A terrible shame since most Audible narrators are so skilled at enhancing a book, not diminishing it.

    8 of 12 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MADALENE 12-05-11
    MADALENE 12-05-11
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    "great book"
    If you could sum up The Art of Fielding in three words, what would they be?

    compelling baseball story


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    one error on the field will forever change the lives of five people.


    Any additional comments?

    well-written, accessible story.

    6 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lowell Augusta, GA, United States 11-14-11
    Lowell Augusta, GA, United States 11-14-11 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Strange Goings on at a College and a Baseball Hero"

    if you are a baseball fan, the book starts out giving you a hero to be. The story line swerves into what you might recognize by today's sports headlines as "is this really happening". Some may enjoy it -others will not.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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