“WOW!! This book is good, really really good! It's about a college baseball team, the president of the college, and his daughter. The good news is that you do not really have to be a baseball fan to enjoy this book. There is plenty of action off the field, trust me. Did I tell you that the ending is fantastic? It is! Read and enjoy. They hype about this book is true!”Gerard Z wrote this review Thursday, October 6, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“We bought this and didn't know if anyone would be interested and then out the door it went. It's about baseball and author Jonathan Franzen says, "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."”Eastern Counties R wrote this review Saturday, October 1, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Chad Harbach's The Art of Fielding is an utterly likeable book with a clever framework and appealing characters. A campus novel, the story concerns Henry Skrimshander, a prodigy shortstop discovered and later coached by Mike Schwartz, the captain of the Westish College baseball team, the Harpooners. The president of the college, Guert Affenlight, made his name as a young scholar by discovering documents pertaining to a long-forgotten visit to the college by Herman Melville. With this setup, the author goes to town with the Melvillean references, deftly placed with a light hand. The larger story, of course, is about the varieties and vagaries of manly friendship as it plays out in the bucolic campus setting. Henry, guided by the Zen-like Art of Fielding (the gnomic maxims of his shortstop hero), loses his way, and more or less finds it again with the help of his friends.
Nothing truly remarkable in this book, but the events within it unfold at a warm leisurely pace that is a distinct pleasure to read. An interest in neither baseball nor Melville is required to enjoy this book--just a willingness to follow the characters as they unfold and develop. Highly recommended.
“This was outstanding - a good baseball story, but also a good character story! Definitely worth reading.”Julie B wrote this review Thursday, September 22, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“A terrific book for anyone who loves baseball and fiction”Carol A wrote this review Friday, November 11, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Henry Skrimshander is the star shortstop for the Westish College Harpooners. He is the fulcrum around which the lives of four other people revolve and they are profoundly affected when his star begins to fade.
Not since Russo's Empire Falls have I encountered such characters that breathe with life. Whenever I put the book down, I felt like the characters were sitting on the couch beside me waiting for me to get back to the action. There was one more individual whose life turned on Henry's actions - my own. Much like the other characters, I found myself hanging on his every movement.
Harbach is a master at dialogue and manages to have his characters say just the right thing at the right moment. What they say can either bring tears to your eyes or make you laugh out loud but it is always believable.
The Art of Fielding is a little about baseball and a lot about the pain and joy of living out our passions.”
“Great story; this is a bit picky but the flow would have improved with tighter editing. Harbach needs a little help standing back from his characters to sharpen focus and tell the tale in a few less words.”Anne W wrote this review Tuesday, September 13, 2011. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No