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The Art of Fielding
The Art of Fielding
Author: Chad Harbach
At Westish College, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league until a routine throw goes disastrously off course. In the aftermath of his error, the fates of five people are upended. Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in...  more »
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ISBN-13: 9780316126670
ISBN-10: 0316126675
Publication Date: 5/1/2012
Pages: 544
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 42 ratings
Publisher: Back Bay Books
Book Type: Paperback
Other Versions: Hardcover, Audio CD
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed The Art of Fielding on + 174 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
Chad Harbach's "The Art of Fielding" is a very well-written book, but I was very ambivalent while reading it.
There wasn't any one character that I liked a lot more than the others, and they all seemed to be extremely flawed.

If you like baseball, which I do, then there are some great baseball moments in the book, but that was about it for me. I thought that this book was a bit elitist, too.

It was okay, but not my favorite book of this summer yet.
reviewed The Art of Fielding on + 25 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
Chad Harbach's first novel paints a clear picture of an athlete's breakdown at a small college in the Midwest. Campus life is beautifully rendered, down to the color of the paint on the walls and the smell of the food in the cafeteria. A parallel story describes a love affair between the college president and one of his students - a big ethical no-no, which, from this academic's viewpoint, is hard to stomach. The characters are a bit flat, but the sounds and smells of college life make the book a pleasant read.
reviewed The Art of Fielding on + 5 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
I really enjoyed this book-it is extremely well written and I came to care about all of the characters. A basic understanding of baseball is helpful, otherwise a lot of it might be boring or not clearly understood. I would give it 5 stars and highly recommend this book.
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perryfran avatar reviewed The Art of Fielding on + 1174 more book reviews
I really enjoyed this marvelous book that uses college baseball as a backdrop. It's a story about friendship and coming of age written with a deep sense of emotion and is full of characters who are vulnerable, quirky and very unforgettable. The main protagonist of the story is Henry Skrimshander, a very promising shortstop who is recruited to play on the Westish College team in rural Wisconsin. Henry's Bible is The Art of Fielding, a baseball manual written by the fictional Aparicio Rodriguez, a Hall of Fame shortstop for Henry's beloved St. Louis Cardinals. (Aparicio was based on the fictional combination of Luis Aparicio and Ozzie Smith). Henry seems destined for greatness and actually ties Rodriguez's NCAA record of 51 consecutive games without an error which leads to scouts from the Big Leagues looking seriously at him. But then an errant throw makes Henry doubt himself and his game suffers drastically.

But Henry is not alone in this very satisfying story. Henry was recruited to Westish by another student, Mike Schwartz, a strapping catcher who acts as his trainer and mentor. Then there is Owen Dunne, Henry's roommate who describes himself as a gay mulatto. The college president, Guert Affenlight, is also a Herman Melville scholar and has a special interest in Owen that he is trying to keep secret. And then there is his daughter, Pella, who moves in with him when her marriage falls apart.

The baseball sequences in this novel are very well written and provide a great overall background for the story. Henry's meltdown as he struggles to get his game together and the other characters reactions to it really provides the drive to the novel but the other sub-plots involving Affenlight and Owen, and Pella and Schwartz add even more substance to this powerful tale.
reviewed The Art of Fielding on
Loved it. Fast read. The story took many unexpected turns. And if you're a baseball fan, you'll love the authentic baseball scenes.
reviewed The Art of Fielding on + 116 more book reviews
The Art of Fielding is a baseball book that, of course, isn't merely about baseball. But there are so many baseball scenes and references that I do think a reader has to like baseball or know about baseball in order to enjoy the book. That being said, the Art of Fielding is about the lives of five intertwined people on a college campus located along the shore of Lake Michigan. The characters face defining moments, failure (errors) and self-doubt. There were times when this novel reminded me of A Prayer for Owen Meany and The Secret History. I liked The Art of Fielding, although I'm not convinced it merited its "one of the best books of the year" status bestowed by many outlets (Amazon, NY Times).