Tuesday, May 29, 2012


I finished listening to The Art of Fielding (Chad Harbach) yesterday. I can't say I wound up loving it -- Harbach makes his characters weaken and fail until every last one of them is so low he/she can't go any lower -- but when I stopped at the bookstore to look up this quote, I was amazed to learn that it was his debut novel. That doesn't make up for what he did to some perfectly nice characters, but it does raise my opinion of his craft -- Harbach will be one to watch for in the future. The Art of Fielding is literary, academic, romantic (straight and gay), youth, aging, and baseball, baseball, baseball.

I thought this was a good quote for teachers, and for a certain blog partner turned runner:
"He already knew he could coach. All you had to do was look at each of your players and ask yourself: What story does this guy wish someone would tell him about himself? And then you told the guy that story. You told it with a hint of doom. You included his flaws. You emphasized the obstacles that could prevent him from succeeding. That was what made the story epic: the player, the hero, had to suffer mightily en route to his final triumph. Schwartz knew that people loved to suffer, as long as the suffering made sense. Everybody suffered. The key was to choose the form of your suffering. Most people couldn't do this alone; they needed a coach. A good coach made you suffer in a way that suited you. A bad coach made everyone suffer in the same way, and so was more like a torturer." (chapter 19)


  1. Thanks for this review, Mary Lee. I almost picked up the audio book the last time I was at the library, but it was long & I wasn't sure I could do it these final weeks of school. It sounds good, but clearly sad. Interesting quote to think about.

  2. That's a quote to ponder, all right. Thanks for sharing it.

    I looked at the book on Amazon, and it seems as though opinion is very divided.


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