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TIC Book Club: The Art of Fielding” by Chad Harbach


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Review by Anne van Oorschot

On September 26th, the club members met to discuss The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach, the summer read chosen at our last gathering in June.  All found it an interesting book.

Henry is an extremely talented & error-free baseball player who finds himself unexpectedly able to attend Westish College on a full scholarship. All is going perfectly, but something happens to throw him “off his stride” and he starts making mistakes with increasing regularity. We had different ideas about what caused this huge change: Could he not take the pressure? Was it a subliminal wish to not exceed his idol? Was it resentment towards his domineering mentor, Mike? There were a lot of ideas and a lively discussion.

There were other intriguing supporting characters in the novel as well: Guert the University President who begins an affair with Henry’s roommate, Owen, which leads to the end of his career. (How different would this have turned out if his affair had been with a female student?) Owen is also a remarkable figure, seemingly unshakeable and calm at all times – nicknamed Buddha – who plays an integral part in what happens with Henry. Then there was Pella, Guert’s estranged daughter who tries to find her way at Westish amid the ruins of her past life. With so many interesting characters and an open ending, it was fun to speculate on what would happen next to Henry and the rest of his friends. There were a lot of possibilities, but who can say…?

We also chose our next book, The Forgotten Garden, by Kate Morton, and will be meeting on November 21st to discuss it. Why not read the book and plan to join us!

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