Friday, May 25, 2012

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Now this was a fun book!  Especially after struggling through The Tiger's Wife.  It reminded me a bit of Jonathan Franzen, without the pompous monologues, and a bit of Tom Wolfe.  The novel focuses on 5 characters - Henry, a college baseball phenomenon destined for the big leagues until a bad throw shakes his confidence, his gay roommate, Owen, who gets involved with the wrong guy, Mike Schwartz, a big brute of an athlete who puts coaching Henry ahead of his own success, Guert Affenlight, the 60 some odd college president who falls in love with the wrong person at the wrong time, and Guert's daughter, Pella, who returns to her father's home after a failed marriage and interacts in an interesting way with all of the others.  Now I like baseball, but I think even non-fans would get caught up in the baseball team's transformation from perennial loser to champion - with both Henry and Owen playing a big role, both under Mike's tutelage.  But just as interesting are the relationships - Guert and Pella, Pella and Mike, Pella and Henry, and especially, Mike and Henry.  I highly recommend this book for an easy baseball season read.

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