As it happens, I'm also an English grad, and FYI, I just wrote this in a review of THE YIDDISH POLICEMEN'S UNION:
"If there's a better living composer of sentences in English than Michael Chabon, I'd like to hear of that writer. Meanwhile, I nominate Chabon as tops in his field.
"Off the top of my head, I can't think of a better dead writer in English except maybe Vladimir Nabokov. But Nabokov's prose is dry, sanitized of the compassion Chabon offers his characters."
I'm sick unto death of irony and nihilism. Give me compassion!
And thanks for this review. You helped me understand why some reviewers are not entirely enthused about Chabon's recent work (and on Amazon, entirely hostile). The author has a heart, which today's academy deems unseemly.