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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)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.1 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • greg
  • sarasota, FL, United States
  • 01-29-12

Comparable to Franzen

Interesting mix of baseball, philosophy and character studies. Much like my favorite contemporary writer Jonathan Franzen, Harbach has woven an engaging study of several diverse personalities into a life affirming experience. If you have enjoyed any of Franzen's novels you will not be disappointed. Holter Graham's narration was on perfect pitch for this wonderful addition to my library.

Highly recommended!

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Lowell
  • Augusta, GA, United States
  • 11-14-11

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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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 10 people found this review helpful

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  • Rita
  • Alexandria, VA, United States
  • 02-13-12

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 5 people found this review helpful

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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 14 people found this review helpful

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Good, but too long

I was expecting a book about baseball. There was too much character development that had little to do with the story. Too many words. O would have liked it better if it was about 1/3 shorter.

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Brilliant book

It was so entertaining as it was beautifully written. It reminded me a bit of Donna Tartt's The Secret History mainly because of the setting but also because of the superb writing.
Graham's performance was amazing.

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Simply brilliant!

Captivating prose! The depth and beauty of every.single.passage cannot be adequately expressed. Narration is out of this world.

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Solid read.

Very much enjoyed the stories and struggles these characters work with around the loose theme of baseball. Some big questions asked and no frilly answers provided, just space to think and maybe hope

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More beautiful than I ever imagined

This has to be one of the most exquisite books I have ever had the pleasure of reading. It's a strange thing to think about saying for a book that on the surface appears to be a novel on baseball. Sure, there's some baseball to be sure, but there's also love, and longing, and so much hurt that you think you, the reader, will never be the same again. And maybe you won't be. I don't think I will. This will possibly be forever, one of my new favorite books of all time. I am so glad I decided to give it a try.