The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach is a sports novel about baseball but it 528 pages is much more than baseball, it is a magical, melancholy story about friendship and coming of age. A fascinating reflection on friendship and fear. The Art of Fielding is remarkable for the depth of its characters. Living with them, sharing in their triumphs and disappointments is a thrilling, moving experience -and even at 528 pages- one that is over far too soon.
Recommended for anybody. You don’t have to be a baseball lover to appreciate this book!
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.
ebook 1st rating: 9/10