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Extended Audio Sample The Art of Fielding: A Novel, by Chad Harbach Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (41,245 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Chad Harbach Narrator: Holter Graham Publisher: Hachette Book Group Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.

Henry’s fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry’s gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners’ team captain and Henry’s best friend, realizes he has guided Henry’s career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert’s daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.

As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment—to oneself and to others.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “One of those rare novels—like Michael Chabon's Mysteries of Pittsburgh or John Irving's The World According to Garp—that seems to appear out of nowhere, and then dazzles and bewitches and inspires, until you nearly lose your breath from the enjoyment and satisfaction, as well as the unexpected news-blast that the novel is very much alive and well.”

    James Patterson

  • “Chad Harbach has hit a game-ender with The Art of Fielding. It's pure fun, easy to read, as if the other Fielding had a hand in it—as if Tom Jones were about baseball and college life.”

    John Irving

  • “The Novel of the…Year…Riveting...[The Art of Fielding] emerges fully formed, a world unto itself. Harbach writes with a tender, egoless virtuosity…There's just something so easy and riveting about the way this book's layers unfold; not since Lonesome Dove have I been so sorry to let a group of characters go.”


  • “Not being a huge fan of the national pastime, I found it easy to resist the urge to pick up this novel, but once I did I gave myself over completely and scarcely paused for meals. Like all successful works of literature The Art of Fielding is an autonomous universe, much like the one we inhabit although somehow more vivid.”

    Jay McInerney, author of Bright Lights, Big City

  • “An intricate, poised, tingling debut. Harbach's muscular prose breathes new life into the American past-time, recasts the personal worlds that orbit around it, and leaves you longing, lingering, and a baseball convert long after the last page.”

    Téa Obreht, author of The Tigers Wife

  • “A novel that is every bit as entertaining as it is affecting.”

    New York Times

  • Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books, Best Fiction 2011
  • A New York Times Bestseller
  • Selected for the September 2011 Indie Next List
  • Winner of an AudioFile Earphones Award
  • An ALA Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 NPR Best Book: Top 10
  • A 2011 Barnes & Noble Best Book for Fiction
  • A 2011 New York Times Top 10 Book
  • A 2011 Amazon Top 10 Book for Fiction
  • An Amazon Best Book of the Month, September 2011
  • A 2011 Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Prize for First Fiction Finalist
  • A 2011 Washington Post Notable Book for Fiction
  • A 2012 Guardian First Book Award Finalist
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Fiction, 2011
  • A 2012 PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award Honourable Mention

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Elizabeth | 2/16/2014

    " My ambivalence about this novel didn't stop me from blasting through it, but I did take a break to watch "Top Chef." People tossing salmon on TV shouldn't take precedence over a book, but it did. I found the dialogue somewhat predictable, and two of the sexual liaisons unrealistic. The over-the-top Melville references got to me after a while (trust your readers--they can see that a big white house = a big white whale-- you don't have to spell it out). I think if I were 15-20 years younger I would have found this novel compelling...or maybe I just don't know enough about baseball. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Erik | 2/11/2014

    " Very, very readable. I highly approve of authors who don't make you slog through their books. Harbach writes in a lucid style and employs a consistent, enjoyable pacing. This is not an ambitious story, but it is self-contained, with no loose ends, and well told. The Art of Fielding is an above-average effort with (mostly) rounded, fleshed-out characters and a believable storyline that holds one's interest. Knowledge or liking of baseball not required. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Petra Ballings | 2/11/2014

    " Well written and hard to put down. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Jeremy Winaker | 1/25/2014

    " A lyrical tale of well-drawn characters set beautifully into the wide-world yet brought close by geography and emotional proximity. The ending was not as well written as the prior portions. "

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About the Author
Author Chad Harbach

Chad Harbach grew up in Wisconsin and was educated at Harvard and the University of Virginia. He is a cofounder and coeditor of n+1. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller The Art of Fielding.