What I Read: The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach
Over the past few years I’ve seen so many people reading this book on the subway, which almost serves as sort of a red flag for me. There’s no way this book can live up to all this hype! It’s like if you’ve never seen the Mona Lisa you might be slightly jaded when going to the Louvre for the first time. But you know what? The Mona Lisa is actually a really gorgeous painting.
This book is also so ubiquitous for a reason and quickly became one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. It’s written with an incredible confidence and skill that I feel is so rare in first novels, or novels period. Harbach has a distinct voice and style and sense of humor and doesn’t waiver from it.
He manages to weave a half dozen characters stories and destinies together in a beautifully orchestrated way without ever being confusing. And all the characters are fully realized, complex and fascinating, by the end of the book you were completely invested in their story. You cringe with Henry during his failures, your heart sinks every time Affenlight is wounded, you desperately want Pella and Schwartz to get their shit together and figure out what they want in life.
It’s written with such sensitivity and humor that I found it nearly impossible to put down and missed my subway stop while reading it, which I feel is probably the highest praise one can give a book.