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The Art of Fielding
by Chad Harbach




Overview -
A disastrous error on the field sends five lives into a tailspin in this widely acclaimed tale about love, life, and baseball, praised by the New York Times as "wonderful...a novel that is every bit as entertaining as it is affecting."

Named one of the year's best books by the New York Times, NPR, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg, Kansas City Star, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Time Out New York. 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.

"First novels this complete and consuming come along very, very seldom." --Jonathan Franzen

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More About The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

 
 
 

Overview

A disastrous error on the field sends five lives into a tailspin in this widely acclaimed tale about love, life, and baseball, praised by the New York Times as "wonderful...a novel that is every bit as entertaining as it is affecting."

Named one of the year's best books by the New York Times, NPR, The New Yorker, Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Bloomberg, Kansas City Star, Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Time Out New York. 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.

"First novels this complete and consuming come along very, very seldom." --Jonathan Franzen

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316126670
  • ISBN-10: 0316126675
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books
  • Publish Date: May 2012
  • Page Count: 512
  • Dimensions: 8.23 x 5.48 x 1.46 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.04 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

The Hold List: October 2019

It’s the time of year when pumpkin spice suddenly flavors everything. But what if autumn were distilled into a book? The mixture of crispness and warmth, the thrill of possibility, the bittersweetness of change—these books are pure pumpkin spice.


The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Lake Michigan on a cool morning, a well-worn copy of Moby-Dick, a lazily draped scarf worn to a beloved college class—this is pumpkin spice latte territory. Chad Harbach’s debut novel is a philosopher’s playhouse, a literature student’s carnival and a baseball fan’s last hurrah of the season. It’s the story of shortstop star Henry Skrimshander and the many intellectuals in his orbit at Wisconsin’s small Westish College. Cute literary jokes abound (Henry’s last name is an obvious nod to Melville and scrimshaw), and meandering passages are capably balanced by thrilling baseball scenes. There’s angst and romance as well—always best in autumn—and a cheeky sense of humor that looks so good with your fading summer tan. —Cat, Deputy Editor

I Remember Nothing by Nora Ephron
First of all, what’s more autumnal than the words of Nora Ephron? (Think “bouquets of newly sharpened pencils.”) But I love this collection in particular because it’s the last book Ephron published before she died. Every time I read I Remember Nothing, I cherish it more urgently because I know I’m approaching the end of her expansive but finite body of work. (Oh, for a thousand more charming observations about seer­sucker napkins!) I think this makes it a perfect book for fall, which is the season for lapping up every drop of beauty we can before it’s gone. Poignantly, the last essay in the book is a list called “What I Will Miss,” and it includes: fall, a walk in the park, the idea of a walk in the park and pie. —Christy, Associate Editor

Possession by A.S. Byatt
This supremely meta, deeply romantic bestseller is a lot. But its dual narratives—a doomed romance between Victorian poets and the modern-day scholars who stumble upon their story—offer some sublimely cozy pleasures for a very specific type of book nerd. If your ideal autumn involves prowling through Victorian letters while a storm rages outside, taking baths in crumbling old manor houses and sighing over love thwarted and love gained, Possession is the book for you. And for those who miss school (but not its over-caffeination and assigned reading), A.S. Byatt’s awe-inspiring creation of not only the work of two poets but also the modern scholarly commentary surrounding them will scratch that essay-writing, argument-crafting itch—sans the all-nighter. —Savanna, Assistant Editor 

Calling a Wolf a Wolf by Kaveh Akbar
Scalding, flavorful and unapologetic, this poetry collection invites readers to scrutinize its speaker’s struggle with alcoholism, desire and mental obstruction. The reader is welcomed into madness, ardor, misery and silence, but this is not our madness, our sadness or our experiences. We may not have experienced alcoholism, but we are allowed to smell the same odors, hear the cacophony of a bar and call out to the speaker’s hope. This collection taught me that poetry is never about the reader but is ultimately an act of generosity. I thank this book for the warmth it gave me, for I needed a comforting drink to withstand the multiclimatic world. Ultimately, I found myself warm enough—and secure enough—to ditch my cup. Prince Bush, Editorial Intern

An Enchantment of Ravens by Margaret Rogerson
If your perfect walk through autumnal woods—fallen leaves in fiery hues crunching beneath your boots, the scents of mist-damp soil and October’s chill filtering through the air—comes with the sense that something is hiding behind every tree, waiting just ahead at every crook in your path, something not sinister but curious about your strange mortal ways, then may I suggest settling down with An Enchantment of Ravens once your latte has chased your chill away? Full of tricksy fairies, a delicious slow-burn romance and plenty of wit and literal Whimsy (the name of the village where Margaret Rogerson’s characters live), it reads the way autumn feels, deep down in your bones. —Stephanie, Associate Editor

 

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