5 Jul 2012
I ended up liking The Art of Fielding a lot. It grows on you, picks up speed, and goes in much different directions than you’d expect, which is excellent if you are baseball-resistant. While I’d say it’s more of a plot- and character-driven novel than a lyrical one, there are some gorgeous, true passages that really sing.
This one was my favorite:
“Affenlight realized in what was as close to an epiphanic flash as he’d ever dared to come that there are many ways of living that had never been named or tried” (219). Epiphanic flash! While the book DOES have a lot of baseball, it is essentially an academic novel, which I adore. (Blue Angel by Francine Prose is a really, really good academic novel as well.)
But there was another passage I found even more significant. My way of dealing with things is to take a real-life situation apart as if it were a novel and analyze it that way. What is this character’s motivation? Is there bigger significance to what he said? If I were reading this book, who would I be rooting for? What would I want that person to do in order to win my trust? Acting as though I’m living in a book makes it easier for me to figure things out. Oh, and then I read this part:
“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” (328).