Customer Reviews for

The Art of Fielding

Average Rating 4
( 257 )
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(106)

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(46)

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(12)

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(17)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

Recommended but different.

At times, I could not put this down. At other times, I skimmed because, there seemed to be a lot of detail that slowed the process. However, all in all, this was a good read.

posted by 6186101 on September 28, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

I thought I would like the story better

I really thought I would love this book. I kept waiting to love this book, but it never happened. I found the story being told from so many points of view hard to follow. Maybe it was because I couldn't make myself care about the characters enough to keep track of wh...
I really thought I would love this book. I kept waiting to love this book, but it never happened. I found the story being told from so many points of view hard to follow. Maybe it was because I couldn't make myself care about the characters enough to keep track of who was talking. I thought the co dependent relationship between Henry and Schwartz got old. I also found the relationship between Owen and the university president totally unbelievable. Gay or straight, a relationship between a 20 something athlete and a 60 something university president ......please. One last thing,I thought it was rediculous how many times in the book someone mentioned how pretty Pella's name was. Seriously, every time I read her name I thought of windows. I really expected a New York Times Best Seller to be more engaging.

posted by Anonymous on May 19, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 28, 2011

    Recommended but different.

    At times, I could not put this down. At other times, I skimmed because, there seemed to be a lot of detail that slowed the process. However, all in all, this was a good read.

    8 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 22, 2011

    Baseball has been beery beery good to me.

    There something grand about a GOOD BASEBALL BOOK. Is it the simplicity of it? the way it moves . . . batter by batter, inning by inning, game by game? I don't know. The same can be said for a good work of fiction (it's ALWAYS a "work of fiction" isn't it) . . . page by page, character by character, chapter by chapter. Combine those two things with a book about college life . . . where young people have freedom to dream with few responsibilities, and you have . . . ta da . . .The Art of Fielding. Curl up and enjoy. peace, trkruse

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2012

    Great debut novel

    I don't quite get ALL the hype about this book, but it was one of the best 10 or 15 books I read in the last year.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 13, 2012

    Awesome, put on your must read list.

    You definitely do not need love baseball to love this book. I loved the characters, all relatable, and I couldn't wait to see how their lives unfolded. I got through a lot of it on a flight and was actually disappointed when we landed. It's truly an engrossing novel. I'm looking forward to what's next from Harbach.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Brenda Ballard for Readers Favorite Henry loved bas

    Reviewed by Brenda Ballard for Readers Favorite

    Henry loved baseball. In fact, he lived for baseball. He was a natural shortstop; the ball and his glove were like magnet to steel. Life as he knew it would cease to exist as he is discovered and recruited to a liberal arts university. Thriving in the academic arena and catching the eye of scouts with his error free play, he is headed towards being signed and making more money than his family has probably ever seen. But all this will change in an instant. An errant throw from shortstop catches in the wind, hitting his roommate in the face. This one throw will be the pivotal point of not just Henry but those around him. Five lives, directly affected, thrown down a thorny path. Henry is destroyed on many levels, this one incident haunting him every day ...

    The audio book discs are probably the nicest I have ever seen, printed as baseballs to follow the story line. This is one of those stories that has so many unexpected twists and turns that it is not possible to guess what the author has in store next. It should be noted that while this book is, in my opinion, an excellent read, it may not be for everyone. There are many colorful scenes with both hetero and homosexual activities. Nonetheless, the audience who choose to embark on the experience will not be disappointed. It is funny and emotional, thought provoking and very well-written. Applause goes to the actor whose voice is captivating and pleasurable to listen to!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    College is an interesting time in one¿s life. It is the quintess

    College is an interesting time in one’s life. It is the quintessential crossroad for an individual – a concrete dividing line that few of life’s crossroads ever have. At the beginning, one’s life dreams are still unlimited and entirely possible. As a student creeps closer to his graduation date, those options and dreams become limited, sometimes severely, so that by the time of graduation the leap from the possible to the practicality of adulthood is a truly terrifying experience. Henry, Owen, and Mike are all at this essential crossroad and must make that leap into the unknown, abandoning long-cherished plans or miraculously enacting their wildest dreams. Yet college is not the only major crossroad in life’s journey; life is full of those proverbial forks in the road. Pella and Quert both face their own personal crossroad, not knowing which path will lead them in the direction they truly need, let alone desire. Chad Harbach’s The Art of Fielding blends the lives of each of these characters and their own travails with their individual crossroads, deftly detailing the emotional toil such decisions require and establishing strong connections between characters and reader.




    Each of the main characters in The Art of Fielding is lost in some fashion, and it is not until they stop fighting the paths down which fate wants to take them where they finally find what they need. During their individual journeys, one is swept up in their mini tragedies, the dramas that surrounds them, their highs, and their unspeakable lows. Mr. Harbach masterfully recreates the same feelings within a reader, dredging up all the pain and anguish associated with growing up that a reader once felt at his or her own childhood crossroad. Remarkably, he also manages to keep the drama realistic and utterly engaging. The plot moves swiftly, but there is a depth of exposition that enables a reader to empathize with and understand each of the characters. The story never feels overly lengthy and in need of severe edits; rather each scene develops with an attention to detail that enhances rather than bores. It is the type of sweeping drama that so rarely graces the bookstores these days with its thorough descriptions, large cast of characters, and ability to capture and hold a reader’s attention throughout each one of its 500+ pages.




    While The Art of Fielding is more than a novel about baseball, the sport does play an intricate role in the plot, and knowing something about the sport and even liking the game will prove beneficial in some of the more detailed baseball scenes. Interestingly, while much of the locker room antics – the careful pre- and post-game rituals, the superstitions, the banter, the speeches – happen in almost every sport, there are very few team sports in which one player’s mistake is obvious to player, team, and observers alike and can cost a team the entire game. Baseball is as much a team sport as it is a completely individual sport, and Henry’s struggles are uniquely associated with the game of baseball. The understanding of baseball’s dichotomy will enhance a reader’s understanding of and appreciation for Henry’s and Mike’s problems.




    Baseball as a metaphor for life – it might not be the first comparison that would occur to a person, but, if one understands the finesse, the physics, the physicality, and the mental aspects of the game, it rings surprisingly true. The Art of Fielding crosses the boundary of being a baseball novel to being a novel about life that happens to occur to baseball players by subtly highlighting the similarities and the aptness of the metaphor. A reader internalizes each of the characters’ pain and suffering because one can always draw upon similar, equally difficult, and emotional experiences. Between the brutish but generous-to-a-fault Mike, delicate Henry, suave Owen, troubled Pella, and grave Quert, a reader has a myriad of experiences upon which to reflect and relate, and a reader will do just that. Mr. Harbach, with his skillful turns of phrase, makes it too easy for a reader to empathize with each of the characters, and the result is a poignant, beautifully simple novel about the pain of growing older and wiser to which everyone can relate.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2012

    A satisfying read

    I enjoyed this book. Found many of the characters intriguing, and liked the writing style. I feel this would make an excellent book club choice or summer read. Many different angles/relationships to explore.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 22, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Henry Skrimshander is a gifted Baseball shortstop.  He has dream

    Henry Skrimshander is a gifted Baseball shortstop.  He has dreamed most of his life of playing like his hero, St. Louis famed Aparicio Rodriguez (who sounds strikingly like Ozzie Smith).  Mike Schwartz, a year older than Henry but his life experience has made him far too wise for is youth, discovers Henry on a hot, dusty baseball diamond after a American Legion game and recruits him to play for the Westish Harpooners, a small Liberal Arts College on the shore of Lake Michigan.  Owen Dunne is brilliant, studious and so detached from perfecting his “sweet” batting swing that the Baseball coach allows him to read in the dugout during games, he is also Henry’s roommate. Guert Affenlight, past football hero, discoverer of unknown Herman Melville papers in the Westish Library and current President of that institution.  Pella Affenlight, Guert’s daughter, who eloped with a man 12 years her senior a month before she graduated high school but has now returned to the “bosom of her father” after not seeing him for the four-year duration of her marriage.  The lives of these five people intertwine, interact, each comes of age and discovers a part of life that is empowering but costly in this exceptional first novel by a rising literary star.
    Westish College is a Politically Correct campus and their sport teams have always been mediocre, at best.  Now, Henry has not made an error in 51 games and the baseball team is headed toward a possible championship season.  All is well until The Error occurs.  After Henry’s errant throw, things change rapidly for the five major characters.  President Affenlight is risking everything to pursue the matters of his heart, Mike’s dreams are repeatedly rejected, Owen’s future changes drastically, Pella is forced to confront the emptiness that has been her life and Henry’s dejection is near complete.  Mr. Harbach’s ability to capture the moment when a person steps into their “life” is significant, the reality that he can do so with five characters in a plausible, natural way is superb.
    There are moments of discomfort in reading this book.  The characters quickly become friends and the reader shares the bruises they gather.  Their dreams are real and attainable but that does not mean that they will be obtained, we share their heartache.  Growing old is not dictated by age and the body is the calendar by which that aging is marked, we suffer their slowing pace.  Goals are reached and we get a ticket to celebrate their wins.  
    This book is a good read, full of laugher, tears, confusion and clarity; it has adult language and situations.  The end is as it should be, with another year beginning at Westish, the Freshpersons are moving in and our characters are moving on with their lives.  How refreshing. 

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    Believable characters

    This story of young men playing college baseball was engrossing. The characters were well formed bad believable. The story encompassed many aspects of the relationships between the characters.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2013

    Highly recommended

    Entertaining and engaging.

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  • Posted June 15, 2013

    Wanted to read this book for a long time. I finally got around t

    Wanted to read this book for a long time. I finally got around to it and thoroughly enjoyed my time spent in "Westish WI" with a group of characters it has been a pleasure to meet. I would recommend this book, especially to anyone who has ever been involved with any team sport, as a player or a fan.

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  • Posted January 14, 2013

    The story centered around Henry - a shortstop with amazing natur

    The story centered around Henry - a shortstop with amazing natural talent and the people who surround him at a small private college. The book was amazingly well written and well thought out. The characters all had depth to them without seeming fake or contrived. Their flaws felt like real flaws. I really enjoyed the read and would recommend it, especially if you like baseball as there is a good amount of talk on that.

    The only thing complaint I have is the use of the word "freshperson" instead of "freshman" through the entire book by every character. Is that a thing now? I was never insulted by being called a freshman while I was in school and I found the use of "freshperson" slightly grating and annoying.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2012

    Very good book - For baseball and non-baseball fans alike

    I really enjoyed this book as both a sports fan and a fan of good literature. It was well written (very engaging).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2012

    A wonderful debut. I was hooked from the beginning and could har

    A wonderful debut. I was hooked from the beginning and could hardly put the book down. Although, the main love story did require a lot of suspension of disbelieve.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 21, 2012

    Loved it

    Best book i have read this summer

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Great read!

    Loved the characters and the story!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2012

    Not Your Typical Baseball Book

    I put off reading this book for quite a while because I was afraid that it would be a ' baseball book' but I was pleasantly surprised. It was really more about coming of age and the way that our dreams and goals shift with experience. At times I wished that the characters were a bit better developed. There were some definite, 'Huh? Why would he/she do that?' spots but still it was nice to read characters who didn't feel formulaic. Enjoyable enough that if I were to see another Harbach book on the shelves, I'd grab it.

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  • Posted February 12, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A wonderful story

    Baseball is the vehicle for this coming-of-age story. Confronting the future, dealing with the past, forging relationships and coping with loss are some of the themes you'll visit here. The characters are flawed, funny, sympathetic and real. We are reminded that growing up and growing older doesn't make living any easier, but that loyalty, hope and hard work still point the way toward contentment and belonging. Read this book; you'll be glad you did.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2011

    Great read... life, love and baseball

    I came into this thinking it was a book about baseball and Moby Dick; the accolades from critics brought up these topics again and again. However, those were background stories to a great story of overlapping and intertwining relationships. I would be disappointed, but I was blown away by the character development and insight into the human mind. Definitly recommend.

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  • Posted October 18, 2011

    Great novel...

    Very well-written, gripping, and entertaining...slightly graphic and ackward at times, but an excellent read!!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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