The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach (2011)

Literature could turn you into an asshole: he’d learned that teaching grad-school seminars. It could teach you to treat real people the way you did characters, as instruments of your own intellectual pleasure, cadavers on which to practice your critical faculties.

artoffieldingI have mixed feelings about this novel.

There were flashes of insight (especially about athletes) and well-written passages (especially on the diamond) that drew me in and kept me reading. Intermittently, there were clunky passages (though I’m sure it would have helped to have read Moby Dick) and daffy relationship developments that left me bewildered.

Ultimately, Mike and Pella were so darn pathetic that I cared very little for either of them. I was left wondering if Henry would ever find redemption – the poor kid (and what happened to his sister, a character I would have liked to know more about until she swooned like a dumb bimbo over Starblind in typical two-dimension fashion). And Owen was a god-like figure who dabbled with these sniveling idiots at his pleasure… Yeah. Very mixed feelings about this book.

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