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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