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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

Critic Reviews

"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 Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Well earned praise

I had some problems with the ending. Implausibility mixed with abruptness kind of took me out of the bliss the book was generating. I won't mention specifics b/c it's not so bad that it ruins anything, so why spoil anything with specifics? And I'd hate to encourage this guy to extend his twelve years of effort to fifteen just to get an ending that I would love (yeah, I read the Vanity Fair story, who didn't?).

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Perfect Match Up

The story and narrator are a perfect pairing. I have listened to hundreds of audio books in all different genres and the pairing of Holter Graham with this wonderful story was brilliant. The book was selected by our book group. Several members read and others listened. Everyone enjoyed the book in both formats and are keen to recommend it.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Scott
  • Mount Juliet, TN, United States
  • 04-14-12

Exceptional

The characters in this book -- Mike, Owen, Pella et al -- are now among my favorites in all of literature. Holter Graham's narration is tremendous. Don't let the fact that it centers on baseball give you pause. The Paris Review had a nice line about that, saying "The Art of Fielding is a book about baseball the way Moby Dick is a book about whaling; it is and it isn't. For the first time since joining Audible last year, when I finished this book I immediately started it again. If you want a higher endorsement than that, call a freaking publicist.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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What a great premise for a book.

Would you try another book from Chad Harbach and/or Holter Graham?

Yes I would.

Would you be willing to try another book from Chad Harbach? Why or why not?

Mr. Harbach writes well, gives depth to some of his characters, and plots out the story line nicely.

Which character – as performed by Holter Graham – was your favorite?

I think I likes his portrayal of Owen the best. He gave Owen exactly the voice and attitude I expected, but he also gave him more than I expected and it was all good.

Was The Art of Fielding worth the listening time?

Yes, I believe it was.

Any additional comments?

I enjoyed the book, but it was not without flaws. It started well, bogged down, then recovered hinting at a need for some additional, or at least better, editing. One character was a bit too wimpy and hard to believe. Still it presented an interesting look into how 5 people met and the impact each had on the others' lives.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Todd
  • Glenview, IL, United States
  • 04-11-12

Well worth the listen

A comming of age book with a twist. The characters were all well developed. Not a true sport book but used the sport of baseball to drive home its point.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Denise
  • Montclair, NJ, United States
  • 03-29-12

Wonderful!

This is a great book, even for those not particularly interested in baseball. The narrator is excellent.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Karl
  • Norwood, CO, United States
  • 03-27-12

Fantastic performance of a fantastic story.

Chad Harbach has received countless articles of praise for "The Art of Fielding", and deservedly so. But Holter Graham's performance in this audiobook deserves to be recognized as well.
The story and performance engaged me from the beginning and inspired a number of "driveway moments".

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Excellent Read

One of the best books I have listened to all year. I loved every minute of the story. It was one of those books that keeps you thinking about the story and the characters long after the closing line. Loved it!

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Rita
  • Los Angeles, CA, United States
  • 02-09-12

We All Should Learn "The Art of Fielding"

Would you consider the audio edition of The Art of Fielding to be better than the print version?

Yes. I felt the different tones used in the audible portion help flesh out the characters more.

What did you like best about this story?

Good plot, good characters and lots to think about.

What about Holter Graham’s performance did you like?

Terrific. I loved how his voice and inflections changed according to each character. This really gave me a feel for who the character was, what he/she looked like, etc.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

The death of Guert.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Life Lessons

Where does The Art of Fielding rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This audible experience ranks quite high, far exceeding the expectations of a reader/listener more prone to classical selections of the Dickens era. But like DIckens or any author I admire, Harbach has created characters I care about in situations that test them and change them. His idea of using baseball as a metaphor for life lessons sounds like a preachy idea but, trust me, he pulls it off with such artistry there is only admiration for his skill. And the desire to go see a game right away.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Art of Fielding?

I don't believe in giving away a story as part of a review but I will say there were several amazing moments when I had to rewind to savor the writing and the narrator's abilty to put me right amongst those interesting and complex young people. Oh and the college president was beautifully drawn, too.

Which character – as performed by Holter Graham – was your favorite?

I loved Graham's rendition of Henry, the shy, innocent youth from a small town whose love of baseball directed his life. Graham never failed to bring that quality of wonder and loneliness to Henry's voice.

If you could take any character from The Art of Fielding out to dinner, who would it be and why?

I would love to have dinner or be anywhere with Schwartz, the team captain, the catcher, the hero of this story. He's a thinker and a doer, a rare combination.

Any additional comments?

In re-reading my review, I fear I make it sound like a sports story but The Art of Fielding is so much more than that. When an author and narrator can create characters that I care for and worry over, when his writing is elegant to the point of poetry, when the story is universal and specific at the same time, he/they have transcended a mere tale of a small liberal arts college and it's baseball team. This is a story to be heard and enjoyed even if you have never seen a baseball game in your life.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful