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The Art of Fielding Chad Harbach
The last time a book consumed me so much was Franzen’s Freedom. And there is a connection. Franzen is on the book blurb, announcing, “It’s left a little hole in my life the way a really good book will.” High praise indeed, from possibly the best American writer today. It is a campus novel, a love story, a baseball story. A story of out-sized talent and the pressure that comes with it. A story of friendship and all the strains it can be put to. A story of love, ageless and almost deathless. I compare it to another celebrated campus novel, Eugenides’ Marriage Plot, and realize how much better a book this is. The campus is Westish, an Eastern liberal arts college with Melville as its hero. Henry Skrimshander is the unassuming baseball star with a talent that is potentially destiny-making. Mike Shwartz is the team captain, an intelligent jock, who spots Henry’s talent and takes it upon himself to be his guide and mentor, even if it means letting his own ambiti…