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The Art of FieldingA Novel

Chad Harbach

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Summary

The Art of Fielding

By: Chad Harbach

Narrarated by: Holter Graham

At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

Henry’s fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry’s gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners’ team captain and Henry’s best friend, realizes he has guided Henry’s career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert’s daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.

As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment–to oneself and to others.

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Total File Size: 437 MB (13 files) Total Length: 15 Hours, 54 Minutes

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Alice Gregory

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Alice Gregory is a Brooklyn-based freelancer. She's written for a variety of publications including New York, NPR, Details, and The New York Observer.

10.26.11
Chad Harbach, The Art of Fielding
2011 | Label: Hachette Audio

A campus novel that spends more time in the locker room than the library
Chad Harbach’s much anticipated, decade-in-the-making debut doesn’t disappoint. The Art of Fielding is a campus novel, but one that spends more time in the locker room than the library. Henry Skrimshander might look like a scrawny kid from South Dakota, but within months of his arrival at Westish College, he’s known as one of the best players on the varsity baseball team. Recruited for his improbably good arm and virtuosic sense of fielding, it’s soon clear that Henry is meant for the big leagues. But not all dreams come true, and on the field, anybody can choke. As what once appeared to be an inevitably bright future fades, Henry — like his mentor, Mike Schwartz — is forced to rethink his prospects and grapple with a life after college that suddenly looks a lot different than he’d envisioned.

But Henry’s story isn’t the only one unfolding at Westish. There’s also Guert Affenlight, the college president who’s fallen head over heels in love for the first time — with Henry’s roommate, Owen Dunne; and Affenlight’s daughter, Pella, recently escaped from a misguided marriage to a much older man. The campus quarters are relatively close, and the lives led in the ivory tower are inextricably entangled. All of the book’s characters — young and old, male and female, scholars and athletes — have their fair share of lessons to learn, not to mention mistakes to make. The Art of Fielding is brimming with snappy dialogue and excerpts from Melville, and listening to Harbach’s prose read aloud is a perfect pleasure.

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