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★★★1/2

The Art of Fielding is a partial triumph, with well-drawn characters and an engrossing plot. The story centers on talented shortstop Henry Skrimshander, his waxing and waning fortunes on the baseball field, and his relationship with mentor Mike Schwartz. Off the field, it explorers the interlocking lives of five main characters at the fictional Westish liberal arts college. Unfortunately at times The Art of Fielding is let down by a clichéd narrative, with what seem like complex characters merging into stereotypes of American college life. The ending is a tad unsatisfying. There is enough here to recommend it – I particularly enjoyed the baseball parts – but I’m slightly surprised by the amount of hype and hyperbole this novel has received.

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