In this timeless, contemporary novel, we observe the interactions of a number of characters on a college campus.
As the story begins, Henry Skrimshander is a shortstop on the Westish baseball team. He had been recruited by Mike Schwartz, the captain of the team.
Henry is a shortstop who plays his position so well, he's like a lone star on a blue sky.
Henry plays for the love of the game and he goes about his business with the feeling that good things will eventually come his way. However when baseball scouts begin to watch his play, he becomes self conscious and his play deteriorates.
We also follow the activities of Guert Affenlight, the college president. Guert has been a single parent for years but his daughter is married and he feels lonely. He falls in love with one of the players on the team and that player wants more than just a clandestine relationship.
The pacing picks up as the team does well and the season draws to an end. There is a chance that the team will become the champions, something that Westish has never accomplished.
There is good character development and all of the characters are likable. We enjoy reading about them and hope for their success.
I enjoyed this book and recommend it for the study of people, the lessons of life and the fine literary writing.
Name checking Steve Blass disease wins Harbach points in my book, in a book about baseball that really isn't about baseball. If you don't recognize the term, google it, but you might want to wait until it is used in the book so that the definition of the term doesn't become a spoiler for you. The title "The Art of Fielding" is also the title of a book about playing shortstop by one of the game's legends, and Henry Skrimshander carries … more
Amazon Best Books of the Month, September 2011: Though The Art of Fielding is his fiction debut, Chad Harbach writes with the self-assurance of a seasoned novelist. He exercises a masterful precision over the language and pacing of his narrative, and in some 500 pages, there's rarely a word that feels out of place. The title is a reference to baseball, but Harbach's concern with sports is more than just a cheap metaphor. The Art of Fielding explores relationships--between friends, family, and lovers--and the unpredictable forces that complicate them. There's an unintended affair, a post-graduate plan derailed by rejection letters, a marriage dissolved by honesty, and at the center of the book, the single baseball error that sets all of these events into motion. The Art of Fielding is somehow both confident and intimate, simple yet deeply moving. Harbach has penned one of the year's finest works of fiction.--Kevin Nguyen