10 11 2012

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

Henry Skrimshander, newly arrived at college, shy and out of his depth, has a talent for baseball that borders on genius. But sometimes it seems that his only friend is big Mike Schwartz – who champions the talents of others, at the expense of his own. And Owen, Henry’s clever, charismatic, gay roommate, who has a secret that could put his brilliant college career in jeopardy.

Pella, the 23-year-old daughter of the college president, has returned home after a failed marriage, determined to get her life in order. Only to find her father, a confirmed bachelor, has fallen desperately in love himself.

Then, one fateful day, Henry makes a mistake – misthrows a ball. And everything changes…

In general I do like a campus novel. However, I don’t like baseball and find details about baseball really rather tedious (indeed most novels which go into any detail about sport tend to lose me a bit). The characters here are reasonably engaging but the fundamental issue is that baseball is at the heart of everything. Frankly I would have just enjoyed it a bit more if there was a little less of the locker room and the fielding and a bit more on the non-sporting lives of the leading players. All in all it’s ok though.

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