Holiday Savings at BAM!
 
(6)
 



Overview -

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.  Read more...


 

  • $0
Sorry: This item is not currently available.

FREE Shipping for Club Members
Not a member? Join Today!
 
 
New & Used Marketplace 252 copies from $2.99
 
eBook
Retail Price: $9.99
$7.99

Add to Cart + Add to Wishlist

Download

This item is available only to U.S. billing addresses.
 
 
 
 

More About
 
 
 
Overview

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.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780316126694
  • ISBN-10: 0316126691


Related Categories

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2011-07-25
  • Reviewer: Staff

Recalling works as disparate as Chaim Potok's The Chosen, John Irving's A Prayer for Owen Meany, and Scott Lasser's Battle Creek, Harbach's big-hearted and defiantly old-fashioned debut demonstrates the rippling effects of a single baseball gone awry. When college shortstop phenom Henry Skrimshander accidentally beans teammate Owen Dunne with a misplaced throw, it starts a chain reaction on the campus of Westish College, "that little school in the crook of the baseball glove that is Wisconsin." Owen is solicitously visited in the hospital by school president Guert Affenlight, a widower, who falls in love with the seductive gay student, a "serious breech of professional conduct" that sends potentially devastating ripples through the school. Affenlight's daughter, Pella, after a failed marriage in San Francisco, returns to become part of a love triangle with Henry and Mike Schwartz, the team captain and Henry's unofficial mentor. And just when Henry's hopes of playing for the St. Louis Cardinals come within reach, he suffers a crisis of confidence, even as his team makes a rousing run at the championship. Through it all, Henry finds inspiration in the often philosophically tinged teachings found in The Art of Fielding ("Death is the sanction of all that the athlete does"), by a fictional retired shortstop. Harbach manages incisive characterizations of his five main players, even as his narrative, overlong and prone to affectation, tests the reader's patience.(Sept.)

 
BookPage Reviews

A debut swinging for the fences

You don’t have to like baseball to savor Chad Harbach’s sumptuous debut novel, a wise and tender story of love and friendship, ambition and the cruelty of dashed dreams, featuring an appealing cast of characters.

From the day he discovers Henry Skrimshander on a sun-bleached American Legion baseball field, Mike Schwartz is on a mission to turn the gifted shortstop into a major-league-caliber player. Mike, the team captain who’s writing his senior thesis on the Stoics and quotes Schiller in his pregame speeches, persuades Henry to enroll at tiny Westish College, a school with a charming, if eccentric, attachment to Herman Melville that stems from the unearthing of a long-forgotten lecture the novelist gave there in 1880.

Thanks to Mike’s obsessive coaching, Henry is on the fast track to a hefty signing bonus, until the day a routine throw to first base sails wide, nearly killing his roommate, outfielder Owen “Buddha” Dunne, probably the only player in baseball history to read Kierkegaard in the dugout. But Owen is much more than a victim of Henry’s errant arm. He’s the lover of Guert Affenlight, Melville scholar and Westish College president, whose 23-year-old daughter Pella appears on campus, fleeing her brief marriage, and eventually falls into a relationship with Mike Schwartz. The ensuing intricate emotional dances only add to the growing tension as the Westish Harpooners improbably claw their way to the Division III national championship game.

Harbach demonstrates an impressive gift for balancing his exploration of these fragile entanglements with an absorbing, well-plotted story, so we’re rooting as hard for the small company of troubled souls as we are for the ragtag Westish nine.

There aren’t many books of 500 pages that feel too short. But like a true fan enjoying a game of baseball as it scrolls its leisurely signature across a summer afternoon, there are moments when you will find yourself wishing The Art of Fielding would never end. It’s that good.

 
BAM Customer Reviews

DISCUSSION