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A Model World and Other Stories Hardcover – March, 1991


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 207 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Co; 1st edition (March 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0688095534
  • ISBN-13: 978-0688095536
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #727,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

An exceptional collection of short stories follows Chabon's well received debut novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh . These subtly ironic tales have a brevity and clarity that allows Chabon's bittersweet observations to hit home. Understatement is Chabon's talent; using words economically, he deftly creates believable situations made remarkable by underlying twists of motivation and behavior. His vivid characters share the need to feel accepted and loved by others. In "S Angel" Ira, a drama student at UCLA, attends his favorite cousin Sheila's wedding and falls for a party guest named Carmen--an abrasive, unstable woman who is unresponsive to his flirtations. It's as much a surprise to the reader as to Ira when he realizes his true affections for Sheila. The unpredictability of love surfaces again in the dryly witty "Ocean Avenue," in which Bobby Lazar, an architect in Laguna Beach, runs into his ex-lover, Suzette, a painfully thin exercise fanatic, and finds he can't suppress his indefinable feelings for her, despite the chaos they bring to each other's lives. Chabon's characters manage to find joy amidst disappointment, and thus a sense of purpose.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

YA-- Originally published in The New Yorker and other magazines, these short stories are delightful in their portrayal of characters, the light irony of the situations, and the flow of the sentences. Chabon deftly paints humorously odd people floundering for fulfillment. In the first part, readers glide into a kaleidoscope of worlds--a Jewish wedding in Los Angeles; Laguna Beach with an estranged couple; Paris with an American do-gooder; Pittsburgh with a down-and-out baseball catcher, a disc jockey, and a blundering toy maker; and finally duplicity in academe. Chabon's stories will captivate creative writing students, students of literature, and casual readers alike. --Susan Callahan, R. E. Lee High School, Springfield, VA
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Model World, Wonder Boys, Werewolves in Their Youth, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, The Final Solution, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Maps and Legends, Gentlemen of the Road, and the middle grade book Summerland.

He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children. You can visit Michael online at www.michaelchabon.com

Customer Reviews

Michael Chabon is one of our finest, contemporary fiction writers.
Mark Gerstel
Readers might be a bit disappointed with some of stories, but on the whole they are very good.
William R. Shadbolt
Chabon's unique voice and memorable cast of characters are always interesting.
Elaine Culbertson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Jason Stewart on April 20, 1999
Format: Paperback
When I first came across this book in it's initial paperback printing, I was excited by his blend of outrageous humor and insightful prose. Especially hilarious is the story about two friends, one of whom plays with things for a living. He looks for the "intrinsic ludic value" of ordinary household items, or rather, would they make good toys. He had one relationship end because of the natural similarities between the shape of a flying saucer and the shape of a birth control pill dispenser. On a whole, it reminded me of Raymond Carver but without the suicidal tendencies. More mature (but not as funny) as his wonderful first novel _The Mysteries of Pittsburgh_, I am looking forward to his next volume of short fiction as it seems to me that the short story is his true gift.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By PJFC on July 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
Sometimes I read reviews of records, etc. where the reviewer states, before anything else, that they shouldn't be reviewing the record, etc. because they're too close to it. I try to avoid writing anything about the records, books, etc. that I really love, since I can't be objective.
This is probably my favorite collection of short stories. My copy has been following me around since it came out and I have read and re-read every line of this thing many, many times. The Nathan Shapiro stories are so carefully written; each sentence seems constructed, each word perfectly placed. These stories are too accurate, too true to be sentimental. Art. This stuff is art.
I have a difficult time believing that everyone doesn't already have a copy of this. I'd recommend this collection to anyone, escpecially those who are familiar with Ethan Canin, Thom Jones (although Jones may seem a little "tougher"), and (maybe) late Richard Ford.
The modern sentence as art.
Objective? No. Not at all.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By JR Pinto on March 29, 2004
Format: Paperback
Michael Chabon is about as good a short story writer that you are going to find today. This is unfair because he is also America's best new novelist. Nobody has any business writing novels and short stories equally well. This is Chabon's first collection of short stories and it is not quite as good as his subsequent collection, Werewolves in Their Youth, but it is still excellent.
The book is divided in halves - A Model World and The Lost World. Ultimately, the second half of the book is better because it is a series of connected stories about Nathan Shapiro, a boy growing up and dealing with divorce.
If anyone is interested in the craft of short story writing, A Model World is a model collection.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A O Cazola on December 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
I must say, I'm a huge Michael Chabon fan. His books are always filled with dynamic characters in fascinating situations, and A Model World is no different. But where some of his books have a more airy feel, the stories in this collection are dark. the underlying theme to almost every story in this colelction is family breakdown. the worlds in Chabon's book are certainly not the model that anyone would like to follow.
That being said, the writing is as strong as ever and the stories are engaging. From the dark, satirical humour of the first story, to the tense nail-chewing fear in the last, Chabon takes us on a ride.
Chabon is a writer who, in a rare case, is actually living up to his hype. Read A Model World; it's worth it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scott William Foley VINE VOICE on July 8, 2006
Format: Paperback
Michael Chabon once again proves why I believe he is America's premier living author. In this collection of short stories, he presents many normal circumstances, every day sorts of things, but he gives them to us with such captivating, realistic characters that you must turn the page to find out how everything ends. Now, this is not the stuff of thrillers, mind you, but rather, his collection is the stuff of life. These characters are your friends and family, and Chabon treats them with both reverence and brutality. Such is life.

Chabon's writing is unassuming and wildly intelligent. There is much at the surface of his work, but it is so pleasing to plunge into the depths of analysis if one feels so inclined. Just as I always have, I highly recommend you read Chabon's work.

~Scott William Foley, author of The Imagination's Provocation: Volume I: A Collection of Short Stories
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By D. Fineman on October 3, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was shocked that some reviewers do not idolize this collection but then Melville and James are always hated by the majority of readers who are honest. Here I find the rejection even harder to bear since Chabon's prose is so intent on being joyful at the semantic and syntactic levels. He is a word dandy (like Stevens) who enjoys not just the mot juste, but the play and excitement of expression. These qualities alone would make him exceptional in world where the minimalism of paucity is mistaken for existential restraint. However he has as great a grasp of the lexicon of social expression as he does of word wealth. He is a fabulous observer and is able to register and decode more nuance in a paragraph than most in a book. The "action" then is not in the physical space but in the constant adjustments and misdirections of inter-personal association. At this, Chabon is more talented than any and all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By C.D. Usselman on November 28, 2004
Format: Paperback
Like a lot of people, I got into Michael Chabon's work after reading Kavalier and Clay. This collection of his early short stories is undoubtedly very good, but it took getting used to. The stories are never as imaginative as Kavalier and Clay, or even Wonder Boys and Mysteries of Pittsburgh. However, they are very well-written, and Chabon emerges as a wonderful chronicler of the difficult paralysis known as youth. Sure, there are downbeat stories, but I think that shouldn't stop people from diving in. This may not be as memorable as his other work, but there are quiet moments of brilliance that hint at the fantastic work that would later come from Chabon.
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