In The Art of Fielding, we see young men who know that their four years on the baseball diamond at Westish College are all that remain of their sporting careers.
Only their preternaturally gifted fielder, Henry Skrimshander, seems to have the chance to keep his dream - and theirs, vicariously - alive, until a routine throw goes disastrously off course, and the fates of five people are upended.
After his throw threatens to ruin his roommate Owen's future, Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his; while Mike Schwartz, the team captain and Henry's best friend, realizes he has guided Henry's career at the expense of his own.
Keeping a keen eye on them all, college president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, falls unexpectedly and dangerously in love, much to the surprise of his daughter, Pella, who has returned to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.
Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warm-hearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment - to oneself and to others.
- Format: Hardback
- Pages: 450 pages
- Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
- Publication Date: 03/09/2011
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780007374441
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by Faradaydon
Painfully slow, cardboard characters. I'm a baseball fan but this almost turned me off the game. It took longer to get anywhere than a game of English County cricket.
Review by presto
The game of baseball is a mystery to me, and has little appeal, even less so the fancy dress that seems to go with American field games, and having read the book I may be a little better informed about the game but I am no more enthusiastic; but none of this hindered my enjoyment of The Art of Fielding. The novel centres on a small group of individuals: Henry Skrimshander the young teen with an exceptional talent when it comes to handling a baseball; Mike Schwartz the college baseball captain how discovers Henry and talks both Henry and the quite backwater Westish College into his enrollment; Owen the super cool, gay black who is Henry's college roommate; Guert Affenlight the college principal; and Pella his daughter. We do get to meet other member of the team who comprise a wide mix of natures but their role is relatively minor.Henry and Mike soon become close friends, in fact Henry seems to have little else in his life besides baseball and Mike, so when things start to go wrong for Henry he is dependent on Mike, who is not always up to the task. His involvement with Henry is not helped when Pella appears on the scene and inevitably distracts Mike.Keeping an eye on the proceedings is Guert Affenlight, but this dashing and handsome older man begins to take too close an interest in Owen, an interest far from discouraged by the beautiful, slender young man, but which can only lead to disaster.The Art of Fielding is a well written and well constructed story, my appreciation of which was in no way hampered by my lack of interest or knowledge of the game of baseball. The characters are appealing and and clearly individual and one soon becomes concerned for each one of them; this is a touching and rewarding story of loyalties and friendship.