Customer Review

129 of 135 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Memorable, engaging and honest, November 8, 1999
This review is from: Wonder Boys: A Novel (Paperback)
I don't quite understand many of the negative reviewshere. People describe his writing as adolescent or reminescent of a story from a writer's workshop. I was an English major in college and realize that to go after one's dreams in the literary field is not easy, simply because of the quirky characters you get involved with. Chabon is not trying to mold profound statements even close to the same league as Chekov or even Updike, but otherwise he works in the same atmosphere as early Philip Roth. He simply describes characters so easily and with such fruition (without overembellishing them) that we are hooked. "The Wonder Boys" is truly about the the emotional atmosphere of the literary world. Unlike medical or law school - writer's are encouraged to stay young - Grady's problem is that he's forty years old, holding on to youth is killing him. The Wonder Boys is not a light a read as I've heard many label it so. It's truly about that gray line between youth and maturity - and within that line resides hundreds of English majors. I loved it, read and enjoy - definitely not a book for anyone who thinks Nabakov is the beginning and end of the artistic plane.
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 30, 2009 2:36:36 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Nov 30, 2009 2:37:26 AM PST
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.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2010 9:02:43 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Oct 28, 2010 12:39:54 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2010 10:04:21 AM PDT
Good luck to you, Jillian. I studied English a quarter-century ago, before PoMo overtook the field, back when we read as if these were real humans in real situations. T. S. Eliot wrote "The Waste Land" in 1920 -- ninety years later, we still need to be told, "Life sucks, then you die"?

Suggestion: ask this prof what other English profs also appreciate O'Brien's and Wallace's point of view. Also go to theatlantic.com and search for "reader's manifesto," a good diagnosis of what ails "literary fiction." Not that this will help you with PoMo profs, but you're entitled to your private opinion.

Isn't it odd that you're studying a form of art, where each work is unique -- and yet PoMo is such an exercise in groupthink? Again, I wish you the best of luck.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2010 10:04:26 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 25, 2010 10:05:47 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Dec 28, 2012 10:40:19 AM PST
MACLEAR says:
You "can't think of a better dead writer in English" than Chabon? I forgot somehow to mourn his untimely passing.
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