03 June 2011

For all the Chad Harbach fans out there

Somehow this blog has become a search draw for information related to n+1 cofounder and debut author Chad Harbach. Since the first reviews of his novel THE ART OF FIELDING are trickling out, here's the sum of my knowledge about this writer and his anticipated debut this fall.

Harbach grew up in Wisconsin, like me, and went to Harvard (undergrad) and UVa (MFA). THE ART OF FIELDING is a novel about college baseball players that got blurbed by Jonathan Franzen and chosen for a panel at Book Expo America, the big annual publishing trade show, that is known for launching the biggest fiction books of the fall. This panel last year launched Emma Donoghue's ROOM and Siddhartha Mukherjee's THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES (plus another book I liked not at all that is currently doing a great thing in propping up my air conditioner). I like baseball books and college fiction, so I'm looking forward to this. There's a fair amount of baggage that comes with the n+1 label, but not as much as in previous years when it was a plucky upstart.

He also scored one of the most condescending news headlines ever when Bloomberg covered his book deal as, "Unemployed Harvard Man Auctions Baseball Novel for $650,000." It's hard to know which implication is worse, that there is something distasteful about being unemployed after having gone to Harvard (the recession happened to them too!) or that the book was some kind of rainy-day-shed project he developed in the absence of a job -- when in fact, as the profile notes, he'd been working on it for ten years. (My own headline: "Chad Harbach will be buying a lot of drinks this weekend..." though really, people should have been toasting him. Which I likely would, if given the opportunity.)

Look for THE ART OF FIELDING from Little, Brown in stores September 7.


Peter Knox said...

I picked up a (signed) galley at BEA. Pretty big book. Looking forward to it.

Ellen said...

Ooh, I wanted to see him at BEA but didn't get the chance. Lucky!