Michael Chabon Turns His Thoughts to 'Manhood'

By Behe, Rege | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, October 5, 2009 | Go to article overview

Michael Chabon Turns His Thoughts to 'Manhood'


Behe, Rege, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Michael Chabon expects to be asked about his intentions for "Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father and Son," a just-published collection of essays. He knows people wonder why a Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist is not writing more novels.

Chabon, who appears Tuesday at Joseph-Beth Booksellers, SouthSide Works, has a simple explanation for his excursions into nonfiction.

"The honest answer is this is what I do," Chabon says. "My job is to pay attention to stuff and notice things and observe them and actually try to figure out a way of expressing that."

Chabon's incessant curiosity has served him well since the publication of his first novel, "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh," in 1988. His love of and passion for comic books was brought to life in "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay," which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 2001. After he unearthed an obscure Congressional motion to establish a homeland for Jews persecuted by the Nazis in Alaska, Chabon wrote his most recent novel, "The Yiddish Policemen's Union."

Thus, the diverse topics broached in "Manhood for Amateurs." While essays on family and fatherhood are most prevalent, there also are metaphorical curveballs that illustrate Chabon's love of odd slices of ephemera. Notably, there are essays about the Clock of the Long Now (a proposed mechanical device that would keep time for 10,000 years); the diminution of Legos; and "The Splendors of Crap" as it pertains to pop culture.

There also is a seemingly unlikely essay about former baseball player Jose Canseco. …

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