Chad Harbach: The Art of Fielding

“Each of us, deep down, believes that the whole world issues from his own precious body, like images projected from a tiny slide on to an earth-sized screen. Andthen, deeper down, each of us knows he’s wrong.” – 467

The Art of Fielding was an interesting read and it took me ages to finish it, primarily because time wasn’t available, but I’m taking the train into work now so I have about an hour a day where I can zone out of the human rush-hour traffic and immerse myself into someone else’s world!

For the first few chapters, I honestly thought I’d be reading a book about the rise to fame of an unassuming boy to a Major League baseball player. As I continued to read, though, I was thrown somewhat of a curve ball (see what I did there?!), as one of the key characters, Henry Skrimshander, makes his way to college, with a baseball scholarship. He navigates his way through relationships, a new, and sometimes strange, way of life and the pressure of expectation, as he rises towards stardom he doesn’t understand. Throw in a love (Lust?) triangle, a gay student/teacher relationship and other life-changing occurrences and you have yourself a good read!

What I enjoyed most, having not read a book this long for a good period of time, was how I could see parts of myself in most of the characters, allowing me to look at myself and also relate, as the book is written from each of their own perspectives at different points throughout the novel. Approaches to relationships, approaches to physical training and dealing with pressure, as well as uncertainty. Those with high levels of empathy will definitely enjoy this book and its parallel running alongside Herman Melville and Moby Dick.

The Art of Fielding brings an interesting perspective to life. What is the art of life? The truth is, there isn’t one. As individuals, ‘life’ will mean something different to each of us. It’ll be something different to each of us and, as such, how we venture from leaving the dugout to sliding through home base, if we make it to home base, is also different. The only commonality is the field we share.

Interestingly, we share this competitive field but what makes this game what it is, is that everyone understands the next. There is this love and mutual respect that not everyone taps into but, as The Art of Fielding shows, when we do tap into it, there is a smoothness and each person can experience their own positive outcome.

@geminidimension