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Showing 1-10 of 93 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 227 reviews
on January 22, 2015
I picked this one up at my local bookstore because it is another Michael Chabon novel set in Pittsburgh. Those of us who grew up in Western Pennsylvania will read just about anything that deals with the region. Although this novel was written before Wonder Boys, and it seems to reflect a younger sensibility than the later book, still the grittiness of Pittsburgh is brought out nicely. I particularly liked the reference to a "cloud factory" that was in a deep ravine next to the Carnegie Museum in Oakland. I did not know any Jewish gangsters in Pittsburgh, but the law firm of the Jewish lawyer who lived on my block in nearby New Kensington represented the mafia overlord who also lived there, so if you think Chabon is making all this up, well, think again. The hero of this novel is going through a period of sexual experimentation, while also trying to deal with the fact that his father is a master crook. There is a build up to a very dramatic conclusion involving one of his friends. Another winner from Michael Chabon.
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on August 18, 2014
I ordered this book because I read Adventures of Cavalier and Clay years ago. I certainly was not disappointed. The story of these three young men and the two young women in the summer after college or just a "coming of age time" was very interesting. It includes explorations of love, sex, family ties and hopes and dreams. Michael Chabon writes so well there is never a dull moment as you ride the waves of exuberance, wonderment, anticipation, disappointment, love, doubt and fear. Read it!
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on January 7, 2017
I was raised in Pittsburgh and enjoyed the word pictures. But the characters were less clear and the story disjointed.
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on December 29, 2012
Perhaps it is because I read most of Chabon's other work (including this year's [book:Telegraph Avenue|10756240]) but Mysteries of Pittsburgh didn't really do it for me. I found it boring. The main character - Art - seemed bored by his own life and thus I found that this book that should have taken me a day or two to get through took me over two weeks.

There was nothing to look forward to. The relationships seemed trite.

The gangster stuff was eye rolling worthy; I never cared about Cleveland; the only relationship I ever cared about was the one between Art and Arthur - the payoff never coming to fruition; Phlox was a love crazed teenage girl who didn't want to seem like one.

And maybe this is because I know that this book was Chabon's college thesis but it felt like it. It felt like every literary device and tool that I ever learned in college was used in the first chapter alone. Maybe I would have enjoyed this more then.

But it wasn't all bad. By the time I got to the end it was interesting to see everything wrapped up (if only because I was happy to be done with it).
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on February 28, 2017
The book flew by like the summer of it's story. A fascinating emotional rollercoaster of a young man's enlightenment. The characters are funky and larger than life.
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on February 16, 2016
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is a great first novel that has held up over time. Michael Chabon makes the reader uncomfortable at times, uncomfortable with the narrator and the other main characters, uncomfortable with the direction of the plot. A good thing, for doing so takes himself and the reader to places they might not like to go, but need to get to in order to reap the benefits of reading his book.
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on October 1, 2012
This was an okay read for me. Went fast. Enjoyed the second half more when it becomes one short connected to the next - rather like a novella. I recommend it, but if it had been the first book I read of his I probably would've questioned whether to buy another. His writing style is unbelievable though. I find I want to read more of his books just because I enjoy the writing and descriptions so much.
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on January 19, 2015
This book reminds me of two required readings back in my youth- Catcher in the Rye & Lord of the Flies. The author gives anyone who has had a turbulent youth (most of us had) a chance for self reflection and validation that it was normal. Chabon is a real wordsmith. His ability to put emotional feelings into prose is brilliant.
I began reading this book because I grew up in Pittsburgh. What a pleasant surprise to find such literary substance!
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on March 7, 2017
I expect slot from Chabon. I did not get it in this book. But of course not every book is Wonder Boys.
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on March 1, 2017
Being a native of Pittsburgh, I stuck with the book because it drew me back to many of the places I knew in the city. But overall, it was rambling and long-winded.
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