Les 's Reviews > The Art of Fielding

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
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May 16, 12

bookshelves: baseball, read-and-return-to-emily
Read from May 13 to 16, 2012

3+
Self-deemed necessary 30 second pre-review prior to taking my son to school with typical perfunctory comment about how a real review will be forthcoming (unreliable):

This is the second time in two weeks that a baseball-related novel (that was about so much more) had me up until 2 AM finishing it. This is not Duncan's The Brothers K, but it is good. It has flaws no doubt (I'm still wrestling with the plausibility of the Pres. Affenlight and Owen relationship), but it hit me and fascinated me on many levels, has several highly memorable characters, and had me thinking about it for the next hour while trying to reach the land of nod. All of this after thinking that it was in the mid 3 range at about 250 pages.
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Edwin Arnaudin Interesting that it got better for you after the first 250 and worse for me.


Les Hey Edwin! That is actually a little misleading. I really enjoyed the first 150 or so and then there seemed to be a bit of a slump for me. In part, I'm sure it helped that the last 250 or so were all read in one shot. I found the real focus on Henry's (and really everyone's) self-doubt and self sabotage really interesting and can sadly relate. It would have been an even better book if Harbach would have tried to make more sense of why Guert has his first homosexual relationship at that point in his life. There are hints, but I wanted more substance in that regard.

Finally, I am on a bizarre baseball kick that probably enhanced my feelings. On that note, have you read Duncan's The Brother's K?


Edwin Arnaudin I think the second half was also WRITTEN in on go. ;)

I read the novel with a college friend as part of our informal long-distance book club. He was our star baseball player and trained like crazy throughout the year, which was nothing like I experienced while playing for the far more lax tennis team. I'd always respected his work ethic, but he wasn't one to talk about it, so reading about Henry's dedication allowed me to somewhat vicariously experience their routines.

I haven't read THE BROTHERS K, but your rave review caught my eye. I've also heard good things about Duncan's THE RIVER WHY.


Les Ha! That explains it then . . . I was on the same wavelength as the author.

The regimen that Schwartzy put Henry through was crazy. I am afraid I lack that kind of drive, but it was fascinating to read.

I should have more of a review of TBK because it is a brilliant story with highly memorable characters and wonderful writing. My friend read The River Why last fall and loved it. Her feelings for The River Why was one of the reasons I finally decided o read TBK after intending to for over 15 years. The River Why is on my short to-read list.


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