Customer Review

747 of 935 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Astonishingly Awful, October 13, 2011
This review is from: The Art of Fielding: A Novel (Hardcover)
I have never felt compelled to write an online review before. But as someone who reads four or five novels a month (mostly popular fiction) and works in the publishing industry, I find the praise for this book so inexplicable and disturbing that I feel the need to speak out. Cardboard, cliched characters (the coach? Henry's father? the chef? other nominees?) engaged in laughable dialogue (as you read the book, ask yourself whether you know any college students -- any -- who talk this way) in a plot held together by cheap TV-esque cleverness (a gay baseball player who after striking out says the pitcher is cute . . . a scene in which readers are led to believe the main character is overhearing two people engaged in sex behind a door -- but only because the writer holds off telling us for a few paragraphs that the character is at the gym outside the weight room). People and themes disappear without a trace (the architect husband? Gone. Aparicio Rodriguez? Disappeared. The zen-like manual, The Art of Fielding, that is the supposed central conceit of the book? Abandoned somewhere mid-novel). For all the complaints here about the ending -- and it is truly silly and pretentious -- let's not lose sight of the wreck that precedes it.
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Tracked by 10 customers

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Showing 1-10 of 68 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Oct 13, 2011 6:20:33 PM PDT
George says:
I've felt like I've been living in Orwell's "1984" with the national blanket hype that surrounded this book. I read the book, and as my mother taught me, 'If you have nothing kind to say...' But truly, this has seemed manufactured by a Ministry of Truth and all the reviewers are speaking Doublespeak, with drivel called genius, wretchedness called sublime. Thank goodness it wasn't a finalist for the NBAs.

Posted on Oct 13, 2011 9:37:06 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 13, 2011 9:39:57 PM PDT
Lit-reader says:
It seems back in the day..there was the expectation that the writer had to have talent. That is no longer the case. It's about Ivy League schools and MFA's--as your entry into this racket. And then we have all the writers and critics who will jump on the bandwagon and hype out to get people to know, like our politics.

Posted on Oct 26, 2011 7:42:02 AM PDT
Thank GOD (and I really do) somebody else recognizes this book for what it is, and singles out crap like the weight-room bit. Chad Harbach has a lot of friends who've been published, that's what the praise for this book tells me.

Posted on Nov 1, 2011 1:59:26 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Nov 1, 2011 5:12:37 PM PDT
Ricky N. says:
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library and I agree with you 100%. You brought out the very things I was thinking as I read this. I can't understand all the hype. I have read many baseball books. both fact and fiction, and I must say this was the worst I have ever read. Good novels are believable and this thing was not in any way. Thank you for saying it better than I could have said it myself.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 12, 2011 11:07:34 PM PST
RT says:
I didnt think it was THAT bad, but you do have some points, I also wondered what happend to the ex after the restaurant scene, he was just never mentioned again.....some cliches, but what else is new? All in all, I found it enjoyable.

Posted on Nov 13, 2011 4:39:13 PM PST
Are you kidding me? If you think this book is bad, I shudder to think what books you find good.

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 1:51:59 PM PST
A. M. Allen says:
I agree with DEdward. Being a lover of baseball and a former college baseball player, I was really looking forward to reading this book which I thought was going to be baseball centric. I was so disappointed on so many fronts, it is difficult to list them all. However, a couple of aspects worth mentioning: one, a guy as talented as Henry just does not quit his team. Maybe this happens in a novel, but it does not happen on a real BB team, especially one so tightly controlled (by Schwartz) as the Wetish team. Two, you want me to believe a gay guy who reads novels in the dugout during the game and basically gives a rat's ass about baseball is going to be your #3 hitter in the lineup?? Really? NFW.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 14, 2011 3:36:04 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 14, 2011 3:36:31 PM PST
Emilie says:
YES!! I'm on page 82 and I'm in total agreement with the original poster but this point, the guy reading in the dugout who doesn't care about the game, THAT IS THE MOST UNBELIEVABLE THING IN THE BOOK SO FAR!!! Thanks for pointing it out.

Posted on Nov 14, 2011 11:59:09 PM PST
temps perdu says:
Bravo, DEdward! When a guy in the publishing business, who reads 4-5 books a mo., is "compelled" to write his very FIRST review, and it's a literate, well-considered critique, I listen. When he's indignant about good reviews for a bad book, I empathize. I'm infuriated by rave reviews for very bad books. I noted that the first blurb about this one, which was overflowing with praise, came from none other than J. Franzen whose "Freedom" I found appallingly bad! Reviewers, however, lionized it.

When I went to comment on DEward's review, I found a number of people felt the same way--and suggested the reviews were written by friends or partisans of the author. Disturbingly, the perception of this problem (or sham) is becoming more & more common.

Enuf said! You can all be gratified that I won't waste any more time reading + or - reviews about TAOF. And I won't waste my time or $ on this book. Thanks for spending the time to my spare mine.

In reply to an earlier post on Nov 15, 2011 12:01:07 AM PST
temps perdu says:
I believe you mean Newspeak instead of Doublespeak. I agree, sometime the bogus praise for a book reaches the Newspeak level.
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