• The Art of Fielding

  • By: Chad Harbach
  • Narrated by: Holter Graham
  • Length: 15 hrs and 53 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (29 ratings)

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The Art of Fielding  By  cover art

The Art of Fielding

By: Chad Harbach
Narrated by: Holter Graham
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Publisher's summary

A wonderful, warm novel from a major new American voice. In The Art of Fielding, we see young men who know that their four years on the baseball diamond at Westish College are all that remain of their sporting careers. Only their preternaturally gifted fielder, Henry Skrimshander, seems to have the chance to keep his dream – and theirs, vicariously – alive, until a routine throw goes disastrously off course, and the fates of five people are upended.

After his throw threatens to ruin his roommate Owen’s future, Henry’s fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his; while Mike Schwartz, the team captain and Henry’s best friend, realizes he has guided Henry’s career at the expense of his own. Keeping a keen eye on them all, college president Guert Affenlight, a long time bachelor, falls unexpectedly and dangerously in love, much to the surprise of his daughter, Pella, who has returned to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.

Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warm-hearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment – to oneself and to others.

©2012 Chad Harbach (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers Limited

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)
"I gave myself over completely and scarcely paused for meals. Like all successful works of literature The Art of Fielding is an autonomous universe, much like the one we inhabit although somehow more vivid." (Jay McInerney)

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What listeners say about The Art of Fielding

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

Even if I wasn't a baseball fan, I would have loved this book. It's about talent, ambition, consequences, confidence, friendship, arrogance, doubt, and so much more.

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2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Not just for baseball fans!

As a Brit with no knowledge of Baseball I was a little sceptical about this book but having read some great reviews in the UK press I wanted to give it a try. I am a great fan of American Literature and I find that having a great narrator really makes or breaks a book for me, in this book Holter Graham is spot on for me.

I love the way Harbach is able to wind his way around life drawing us into the characters and through this thread in the baseball elements and make is so very readable/listenable. It reminds me a lot of John Irving (of whom I am big fan) and that is a great plus.

I liked the suspense Harbach uses in some key moments and didn't myself find this too contrived - don't want to add any spoilers so you'll have to listen to the book to find out how the plot unravels and the story ends.

I loved some of the names of the characters too - Henry Scrimshander, Guert Affenlight, Chef Spirodocus, Pella etc, very inventive.

All in all, a great read which I thoroughly enjoyed!

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Entertaining novel about college and baseball

If you could sum up The Art of Fielding in three words, what would they be?

Baseball is life

What does Holter Graham bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Lively characterisations. A good narration.

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

Yes - but that would spoil it for readers.

Any additional comments?

This is a very good novel. The characters are interesting, and the interjecting trajectories of their lives becomes fascinating. Baseball is a metaphor and backdrop for the developing drama. Throughly enjoyed listening to this.

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