Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Michael Chabon and the Art of Narrative Sleight-of-Hand

I like Michael Chabon - I'm a fan, in fact. Back before Michael Douglas and Robert Downey Jr. took hold of it, I was one of those word-of-mouth bookstore employees that tried to sell a copy of Wonder Boys to every customer that walked through the door. I've made a point of reading his other stuff, too, even the wonkier material. I loved the first two-thirds of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (the closing act felt drawn-out and forced; as a corrective alternative, I'd recommend Guy Vanderhaeghe's The Last Crossing. Vanderhaeghe takes on the same artistic concerns as Chabon - modern alienation, sexuality, personal mythologies, the spectre of the frontier, the personal toll of violence - and nails it. But he doesn't do comics). I've got Summerland resting on my computer, and look forward to reading it. But I'm suprised and a tad disappointed to read this.

That's the sort of error in judgement one expects from a younger man, someone who doesn't have a wife and children to answer to. Am I making too big a deal of this? Maybe. But the guy is capable of much, much better.

Some follow-up, here. Links from Bookninja.

No comments: