As Others See Michael Chabon

And here I thought everyone was looking forward to The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. From comments at TEV:

No super-heroes in this one, right? ‘Cause if there are, you know, I’m out.

Seriously, I have been a fan — fairly, fan; not connoisseur or scholar or anything so sophisticated — of Chabon’s since I by chance picked up the first paperback edition of “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” back in 1902, or whenever it was. It is heartening to read that he retains his gift for near-corporeal simile and metaphor; it is frightening to read that he is now putting them all in one paragraph.

I’m going to go out on a limb: I say, in advance of reading no more than just this one paragraph, he’s yellow-dogged this one. Mind you, I don’t want him to, I’m not after any hero-takes-a-fall sensationalism. I merely, as they say, got a feeling. Tell me I’m wrong, I’ll be happy.


I think he’s of late become sort of a caricature of himself. Occupational hazard maybe, for a successful, prize-winning novelist who sort of got genre-slammed. I mean, his work started as quite a bit more stable, less big-idea-centric and has sort of swiftly bogged down in the consistently fantastical. I don’t think it’s irredeemable, but it’s notable. I mean his screenwriting career alone is starting to sound like the pitch for a Charlie Kaufman script. That said, he’s a supremely talented writer. One of the best American writers currently publishing.

2 thoughts on “As Others See Michael Chabon

  1. I’d say there are elements of fantasy even in “Wonder Boys,” or at the very least, there are fantastic concepts…and what’s wrong with that, anyway?

  2. There are science fictional or fantastic references in every one of his books, even Mysteries of Pittsburgh. He is clearly knowledgeable about and respectful of the genre, which is one of the things that makes him such an interesting writer.

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