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Wonder Boys: A Novel Paperback – April 29, 2008
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This month's Book With Buzz: "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng
From the bestselling author of Everything I Never Told You, a riveting novel that traces the intertwined fates of the picture - perfect Richardson family and the enigmatic mother and daughter who upend their lives. See more
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From Publishers Weekly
Mixing comic?even slapstick?events with the serious theme of bright promise gone awry, Chabon has produced an impeccably constructed novel that sparkles with inventiveness and wit neatly permeated with rue. The once-promising eponymous "wonder boys" are Grady Tripp and Terry Crabtree, friends since college, where they both determined to make their mark in literature. Now they are self-destructive adults whose rare meetings occasion an eruption of zany events. Narrator Grady, a professor/novelist whose unfinished work-in-progress, Wonder Boys, stands at 2000-plus endlessly revised pages, has destroyed three marriages through compulsive philandering and a marijuana habit. Terry is a devil-may-care, sexually predatory editor who has patiently endured Grady's writing block but who tells Grady, when he arrives at the annual literary conference at Grady's small Pittsburgh college, that he expects to be fired momentarily from his job. Grady and Terry, later joined by the campus's newest potential "wonder boy," a talented but mendacious student named James Leer, set in motion a series of darkly funny misadventures. Farcical scenes arise credibly out of multiplying contretemps, culminating in a stoned Grady's wild ride in a stolen car in whose trunk rest a tuba and the corpses of a blind dog and a boa constrictor. All of this affords Chabon a solid platform for some freewheeling satire about the yearnings, delusions and foibles of writers and other folk. Throughout, his elegant prose, breathtaking imagery and wickedly on-target dialogue precisely illuminate his characters' gentle absurdities. The pace of this vastly entertaining novel never abates for a second, as we watch Grady slide inexorably into emotional and professional chaos. Above all, though, this is a feast for lovers of writing and books, with the author's fierce understanding of what Grady calls "the midnight disease," the irresistible, destructive urge of a writer to experience his characters' fates. Author tour.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Chabon himself is something of a wonder boy; his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, presided on the New York Times Best Sellers list for 12 weeks. Here, his eponymous heroes are Grady, an aging author attempting to write his chef-d'oeuvre, and his randy editor, Tripp.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
This novel works, because Grady Tripp has a heart. He's a man filled with misguided direction and false hope, and yet he still continues to go forth and attempt to conquer the world. He may have flushed seven years of his life down the toilet working on a novel that even he knows doesn't really work, but he still believes there's an ending out there somewhere for it, and all he has to do is find it. Like the main character, the prose of WONDER BOYS is both elegant and disturbing, and it's a beautiful read from the first page to the last. And I enjoyed every single minute of it.
Author of Falling Immortality: Casey Holden, Private Investigator
The bad: not much there, there. Stretches a very slight plot to the point of breaking, by spending many pages on stuff that is too loopy to carry the weight.. Too much like PG Wodehouse-meets-TC Boyle. James Crumley does it better.
This sets the tone for "The Wonder Boys." Tripp and his buddies are the next generation of professors and administratiors in the same setting but a generation later. Tripp says that he has the same disease as his mentor, the "midnight disease" which is staying up all night trying to write. The difference is that the older writer kept at it, trying to keep up with public taste despite no personal life. The Wonder Boys, however, are all about their personal lives. For them the midnight disease is whining about how they can't write, carousing and causing mayhem instead, acting before thinking about how they are affecting others, including killing a poor old dog and carrying around his body in the trunk of a borrowed car letting him decompose.
The novel is a comment on our times, partytimes, with characters who are self-centered narcissists. Some of their escapades are amusing, but that's about all to recommend.
Nope. I'd say 90% of this book was filmed as written.
But I love the book for itself. It's a revealing story of the heart, as the main character discovers what truly is in his own. And of course Mr. Chabon knows how to string together clever and delightful words that match his characters offbeat adventures.
It's also easier to read than Kavelier. You won't need to carry your Webster's with you.