The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach

This 2011 American novel has collected quite a few excellent reviews which together make this seem like an exceptional novel, exceptionally well constructed and exceptionally compelling, the Telegraph’s review being typical of most reviews, stating that this is “a book you want to read and read”. However, I could take it or leave it, for the most part. Though I’d say it’s certainly good enough that I wanted to finish it. The Telegraph goes on: “It is deliciously old-fashioned: it simply gets on with the business of creating vivid, layered characters and telling a good, engrossing story”. However, I would say that the novel is a bit flabby, never really succeeding in telling the story of any of its main characters – having far too many of them. For a pretty big novel, that it fails to sufficiently develop its central idea, or its central character, there must be something wrong. And there is. There are three or four, maybe five potentially great characters in here, and three or four, maybe five potentially great stories in here: that’s the problem. Shame Harbach didn’t give any of them the space they deserved.

Mr A

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