I did not go home in the province during the Christmas and New Year break. Instead, I devoured a book that was voted by Amazon.com and The New York Times as the best fiction of 2011. I bought the book November in National Bookstore Rockwell, and I have to ask their customer service assistant to find it for me since it is not in their display racks. She said that she can still see 1 available stock, but it was now put in their stockroom. (I don’t know why, to think that this book is such a gem.) Oh well, maybe now, the book is back in the display rack again after Amazon chose it to be the #1 book for 2011.
True enough, when I read it, it has that feel of a story and literature of Jonathan Franzen, who also rave about the book.
The story revolves around baseball, and its main protagonist Henry Skrimshander is off to a great career because of his talent in the game. But more than the sports itself, the writer indulge the reader to expand its theme to universal flavor of dreams and aspirations, love and hope, errors and mistakes in life. As Chris Barton of The Los Angeles Times aptly put it:
“That’s because instead of focusing on runs and hits, Harbach is most concerned with errors, that cruel statistic line unique to baseball that no one, not even an athlete touched by natural greatness, can ever eliminate. The issue for Henry, and the characters around him, is how recovery from these errors on and off the field gives shape to people’s lives.”
The book can be turned into a great film adaptation, because the main characters are rich in emotional texture. If you watch Friday Night Lights, the TV series, then this book might pique your interest. Definitely one of the best books I’ve read for 2011.
I drop by Fully Booked in Bonifacio High Street last weekend, and they have many stocks of The Art Of Fielding. It is stack in their “Fresh List” section right after you enter the main entrance. By chance, or outright prodding, grab the book.