Negli Stati Uniti è uscito lo scorso autunno e i critici ne hanno parlato un gran bene, scomodando i nomi di Jonathan Franzen e David Foster Wallace. Il romanzo in questione è The Art of Fielding di Chad Harbach, e da noi verrà pubblicato a marzo per i tipi di Rizzoli. La storia ruota intorno alla squadra di baseball di una piccola università sulle rive del lago Michigan:
At Westish College, a small school on the shore of Lake Michigan, baseball star Henry Skrimshander seems destined for big league stardom. But when a routine throw goes disastrously off course, the fates of five people are upended.
Henry's fight against self-doubt threatens to ruin his future. College president Guert Affenlight, a longtime bachelor, has fallen unexpectedly and helplessly in love. Owen Dunne, Henry's gay roommate and teammate, becomes caught up in a dangerous affair. Mike Schwartz, the Harpooners' team captain and Henry's best friend, realizes he has guided Henry's career at the expense of his own. And Pella Affenlight, Guert's daughter, returns to Westish after escaping an ill-fated marriage, determined to start a new life.
As the season counts down to its climactic final game, these five are forced to confront their deepest hopes, anxieties, and secrets. In the process they forge new bonds, and help one another find their true paths. Written with boundless intelligence and filled with the tenderness of youth, The Art of Fielding is an expansive, warmhearted novel about ambition and its limits, about family and friendship and love, and about commitment--to oneself and to others.
Gregory Cowles, sul "New York Times", scrive che non si tratta semplicemente di un romanzo sul baseball: "It’s also a campus novel and a bromance (and for that matter a full-fledged gay romance), a comedy of manners and a tragicomedy of errors — the baseball kind as well as the other kind, which as Alexander Pope pointed out also has something to do with the human condition". Così la pensa anche Michiko Kakutani: "A magical, melancholy story about friendship and coming of age that marks the debut of an immensely talented writer".
Amazon.com e il "New York Times" lo hanno inserito nella lista dei dieci migliori libri del 2011. La HBO ha comprato i diritti per farne una serie televisiva (e questa, più di ogni recensione, è la vera nota di merito di Harbach). Sono molto curioso.