The Omnivore recommends …
Like all good pretenders to the title of Great American Novelist, Chad Harbach manages to mix the mundane, the esoteric and a handful of Schiller quotations. Adam Mars-Jones in his entertaining review in the Observer skilfully unpicked the verbal tangles:
There are so many references to high culture that college baseball comes to resemble some sort of offshoot of Mensa. Mike Schwartz quotes Schiller in a pre-game pep talk. Owen reads Kierkegaard in the dugout. Introduced to Pella, Schwartz correctly identifies her name as that of a city sacked by the Romans in 168BC. Even Henry’s point of view dwells on Homer rather than Homer Simpson. All of this would be laughable if it was done with less conviction.
On the book’s first page there’s an elementary slip in the point of view, with a reference to Mike Schwartz letting “his huge aching back” relax against a chain-link fence. Any creative-writing instructor would point out that Mike may feel the ache but hardly the hugeness, which is information aimed squarely at the reader. Perhaps Harbach has let it stand with the affectionate confidence of a driver who decides, after passing his test, not to respray the scratch in the coachwork that happened the first time he took the wheel.
Read all the reviews for THE ART OF FIELDING.