Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Art of Fielding - Chad Harback

I seem to enjoy books that take place at small town colleges.  Richard Russo's Straight Man and Jane Smiley's Moo come to mind.  The Art of Fielding follows Henry Skirmshander, a shortstop phenomenon to Wisconsin's Wetish College.  As Henry learns to navigate college life and the pressures of college athletics, his roommate begins an illicit affiar with the univeristy President.  And, the President's daughter, running from a failed marriage, begins her own dalliance with the team's captain.  Amidst a lot of baseball talk, is a coming-of-age story about a boy who lacks confidence, who is then built up to believe he can do no wrong, who then makes an unforeseen error that potentially changes the trajectory of not only his life, but of all those around him.  At times, this book was a bit too melodramatic for my tastes, but overall it was an enjoyable story with some interesting and real characters.

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