NOT southern, but midwestern ...
The Art of Fielding - Chad Harbach
Audio book narrated by Holter Graham.
Henry Skrimshander is a baseball phenomenon from South Dakota who has landed at tiny Westish college, a school “in the crook of the baseball glove that is Wisconsin.” His future will become entwined with that of his roommate and teammate Owen Dunne, his mentor and team captain Mike Schwartz, the school president Guert Affenlight, and Guert’s daughter Pella, who returns home after her marriage fails.
When this book came out I was not enticed by the great reviews and general hoo-hah over its release. I just didn’t have any desire to read a book about baseball. Everyone told me that it was really not a baseball book, but I just wasn’t convinced. I never even added it to my tbr list. However, it’s a book-club selection, and the woman who suggested it is someone whose opinion I value, so I decided to give it a go.
There were parts of this book that really grabbed me; Harbach wrote so poetically about Henry’s skill as a short stop that he almost made me interested in baseball. But once Henry lost his confidence, I lost confidence in the book. The storyline seemed to lose momentum, and the middle part of the book just plodded along and stretched credulity too far for me. For example, the scene where Henry swims out into Lake Michigan at night …. Really? I’ve been in Lake Michigan off the coast of Door County in August and nearly froze my tush off. In Spring, Henry would have died of hypothermia in a few minutes. I thought all the characters behaved so immaturely, including (or especially) President Affenlight. Pella really irritated me, even more so because she was the only significant female character.
Holter Graham did a very good job performing the audio version. There were a couple of times when his voices for the many male characters sounded a little too much the same, but in general his skill was up to the task. I particularly liked the way he brought Henry and President Affenlight to life.
posted 7 months ago. ( permalink )