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The Great American Novel,
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This review is from: The Art of Fielding (Kindle Edition)
I bought this promising first novel having read a number of enthusiastic reviews in the Guardian. As a result, I had great expectations that this would be a good book, and I can happily report it exceeded my wildest dreams. I will not provide a summary of the plot, as I will not risk inadvertently spoiling it for you. Suffice it to say that Chad Harbach has attempted to write a Great American Novel, following in the footsteps of Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Mailer, Bellow, Updike, Vidal, Heller, Roth, Auster and Ford. In my opinion, he has achieved his lofty ambitions. It may lack the biting satire of Catch 22 or the breathtaking sweep of Fiesta, but this novel manages to combine utterly compelling characterisation with a plot that is simultaneously contemporary and allegorically timeless. The central plot motif, with its depiction of individual and team excellence being thwarted by inner demons, before being triumphantly realised via selfless individual and team sacrifice, provides a penetrating and emotionally engaging mirror to the current American malaise. I for one, share the author's faith that the only thing to fear is fear itself, and that it is too early to call time on the American Dream!