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The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
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Dec 07, 11

bookshelves: read-2011
Read from December 03 to 06, 2011

I wanted so desperately to hate this book. I mean, what's not to not love? The ridiculous hype? The obnoxious pedigree (Harvard, UVa, n+1, Brooklyn)? The incessant comparisons to Franzen and Wallace (whose editor oversaw this book)? The smug "yes I'm another privileged honky with a receding hairline" author photo? The pretentious book about the making of this book? The execrable quality of the novels by Harbach's fellow n+1 co-founders? The fact that it's a 512pp. novel -- ABOUT BASEBALL?! The list is endless.

But I just couldn't do it. It's just so damn good. Yes, some of the plotting and motivations seem unbelievable. Yes, some of the characters speak somewhat untrue to life. But O what characters! The whole gang felt vividly alive and deliciously complicated, and I was in thrall to their goings-on from start to finish, from first warm-up pitch to the bottom of the ninth. While finishing the book wedged into an impossibly hip tapas bar smack-dab in the middle of Manhattan, I teared up repeatedly -- turning on the waterworks in full view of several confused but still jaded New Yorkers. But I didn't give a damn, because it was that fucking great. Please enjoy!
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