The Art of Fielding

The Art of Fielding

A Novel

eBook - 2011
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At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big-league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended. Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry's gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners' team captain and Henry's best friend, realizes he has guided Henry's career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert's daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life. As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. This novel is about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment to oneself and to others.
Publisher: New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780316192187
Characteristics: 1 online resource (512 p.)


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Jun 18, 2017

So this book is a really, really delightful read- I knew I loved it within the first few pages, which is pretty rare for me, as it usually takes me a hot second to warm up to a book. But a book about baseball, the Midwest, and a small liberal arts college--that's three of my favorite things!

That being said, there are definitely parts of this book that made me pretty deeply uncomfortable, not necessarily with what was done itself but the way that these things were left sort of basically unquestioned, and I do think that in a lot of ways it's very much a piece of Literary Fiction that could definitely turn off a lot of readers, and upon reflection makes me sort of uncomfortable.

But I do think it's an incredibly tightly-woven novel that does an incredible job of juggling all the characters and their Issues, and at the end of the day was still this sort of soft love story that I really appreciated reading. If you like baseball especially, I think you'll like this book!

Sep 02, 2015

A wonderfully written novel. Highly recommended.

Sep 02, 2015

Looking for a great read for a long weekend? I couldn't put this book down. A beautifully written, wry and wonderful novel. And you don't have to love baseball or Moby-Dick to love this book (although if you do love baseball and Moby-Dick, you'll love it even more).

Aug 28, 2015

This is one of the best books I've read in a long time. The plot lines, characters, tone is beautiful. Often I'm loving a book and then the end disintegrates, this one does not. It's both enjoyable reading and artful too. Highly recommend.

Jul 07, 2015

Looking for the perfect summertime read? High marks from all readers I know--including those who don't love baseball. Extra fun for anyone who loves Melville, baseball, and quirky academics.

Ivan W. Taylor
Nov 06, 2014

Not a bad baseball book. The main story was about a star college shortstop that gets a mental block about throwing. The idea was that one of his wild throws hit his teammate in the head while the teammate was sitting on the bench. This didn't quite make sense. Since it was a home game, the home team's bench is along the third base line. So there is no way a throw to first base would have hit a teammate. There were many memorable characters and some good subplots.

WVMLStaffPicks Aug 29, 2014

Reading about the extraordinarily talented shortstop Henry Skrimshander, whose pursuit of perfection brings his North American Midwest college team to the attention of major league scouts, is an immersive experience of the kind where you don’t notice the wee hours approaching. Recommended for fans of college tales, baseball, love stories or multi-storied novels. Luckily for me, the baseball fan part is not a requirement!

Aug 28, 2014

I loved it. I felt really interested in the characters and found myself pulling for them in their individual situations

BCD2013 May 12, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
A college baseball star launches a routine throw that inadvertently changes the lives of five people, including the college president.
- Selection Team

EricaReynoldsNYC Apr 11, 2014

Such a great book--about so much more than baseball.

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