Saturday, August 27, 2011

Gold Glove Award

Top: Anthro
Skirt: thrifted
Wedges: Target

Here we go! I almost forgot all about this and I was going to wring about Rolling Stone instead. CRISIS AVERTED

The Art of Fielding was written by Chad Harbach, co-founder and co-editor of n+1. This book combines two things I don't particularly care for, baseball and Moby Dick, and somehow creates this brilliantly interwoven story of the lives of five people and how they are affected by one day, one play, one errant throw. The Art of Fielding manages to breeze through two years and spends the bulk of its time on Henry's junior year, in which he becomes one of the most sought after shortstops in college baseball.

Of course, you could've read all that on Amazon. What did I think? I won't lie, I thought it was difficult in parts--particularly when reading about Affenlight and Owen's relationship, which was frustrating and awkward in a way Mike and Pella's was not. When I read a book I like to see equal attention paid to the details of various relationships, and that of Owen & Affenlight is much more developed than those of Pella and Affenlight (her father), Owen and Henry (his roommate) and Owen and Mike (the team captain). Though honestly, if they'd all been as developed, the book would be over 700 pages long. I wouldn't have minded so much, though, because Harbach is a master of description for the sake of plot advancement; many authors rely on extensive dialogue to further the plot, but Harbach is able to do so while describing a baseball game. Or a drive out of town.

Where The Art of Fielding really shines is in portraying Henry's life, which is wholly inebriated with baseball. I found Henry hard to relate to and stoic everywhere except on the baseball field, where his excitement and personality erupt. I'm not sure if Harbach meant to write Henry that way--I would assume so--but I found that a bit choppy. Henry overall is rough around the edges and struggles throughout the novel, but that's similar to many college athletes, which makes him understandable while still unrelatable--perhaps because I wasn't a college athlete in the classic sense. Overall, though, The Art of Fielding is a beautifully written novel with lovely, nuanced references to today's society, the past, and (of course) baseball. I won't be surprised when there is a holds list on it at my library and it's hovering somewhere around 10 on the NYT bestsellers list.

The Art of Fielding is available for pre-order on Amazon and will be available everywhere on September 7th. Libraries I checked are currently showing light holds, but I expect that to change as it nears its release date.

Well, let's hear it. Will you read The Art of Fielding?

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