The Art of Fielding is a sports fiction, a heart-throbbing novel by Chad Harbach, who presents to the readers sports drama in a precocious dimension. Having played baseball during high school, Harvard graduate Chad Harbach brews together his devotion towards the awe-inspiring sport and the psychological skirmish of an infield highbrow to spawn yet another sibling of art. The book projects the polychromatic story of Westish College Harpooners, a Division III baseball team that is subjected to ordainment and elevated fortune after Henry Skrimshander, a young shortstop joins the team.
Henry, although a little scraggy, is being considered as gifted by the coaches as he begins chasing records during his junior years. As he poses a potential benefit to the uprising team, the senior players in the team keep a track of his progress in fielding. What comes next is an easily predictable twist in the story – all that’s in place disintegrates into chaotic sub-parts, which acts as a potential threat to the progress of the team. Feeble disturbances in the form of startling incidents add to the confounding state of turmoil.
Henry’s teammates and coach are left in a state of bewilderment as his performance drops like the mercury of a thermometer that has just been drawn out from a patient’s mouth, while on the other end, scotch tapes of constraints wrap him up tight which leaves him struggling to field in the same position where he had worked wonders. Following the off course, Henry is left teleporting at different locations within the interiors of ambiguous pluralism. In the meanwhile, Guert Affenlight, president of the Westish College, enters the comic zone as the longtime bachelor becomes a victim of infatuation. Henry’s homosexual roommate cum teammate gets deeply involved in a dangersome romance. Mike Schwartz, Henry’s best buddy cum team captain, goes into misthought as he feels that helping his buddy build a foundation for a career has left him stranded in liabilities. Following a few more engrossing mis-incidents, what happens in the interlude is what we all foresee.
The Art of Fielding is a paradox of a sports fiction that is meant for all those who fall between the categories of baseball lovers and baseball non-lovers. This is a novel that is well beyond just baseball; however, it does start and end with it. Chad Harbach presents the fiction in a manner that is equal to several first-persons’ sharing of their experiences and one couldn’t have possibly come up with a more appropriate title. Introspect and complete the cycle to get to the higher one, its essence speaks.
Although the streaked mis-happenings in the plot resemble several storylines along the course of writing, the author keeps the characters vulnerable to the introspective elements of their shortcomings, which subjects the reader to a close encounter with the tenebrific reflections of mind. This book symbolizes the integrating of different flavors of the same but everchanging.
This book embellishes literature, while unsuspecting entertainment seekers come looking for more, instead, encounter art and introspection.