By the New York Times–bestselling author of Moonglow: “When you read these stories, it may strike you how seldom you come across really beautiful writing” (USA Today).
Cherished by readers and critics alike for such extraordinary novels as The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, and Wonder Boys, Michael Chabon is at the height of his considerable powers in this striking and bittersweet collection of short stories.
An anxious young misfit does nothing to protect his best friend from the scorn of their teachers and classmates. A kleptomaniac real estate agent leads an unhappy couple on a disastrous house tour. A heartbroken grifter finds his ex-girlfriend’s grandmother to be an easy mark—and an unexpected source of redemption. Throughout these stories, Chabon’s characters, suffused with yearning but crippled by broken love, often find themselves at a crossroads—and faced with sudden insight.
Michael Chabon is “Updike without the condescension,” wrote James Hynes in the Washington Post Book World, “Cheever without the self-pity, a young American Nabokov who writes with a rueful joie de vivre.” In this darkly funny, achingly delicate collection, he renders the compromises of adulthood and the vivid fantasies of childhood with clarity and warmth.
This ebook features a biography of the author.
Applying his ironic talents to even darker material than in previous outings, Chabon has produced a winning collection of nine stories. Failed marriages haunt almost all the protagonists; personal disasters, depressive malaise and sexual violence are recurring themes. In "House Hunting," a realtor is more intent on stealing objects from a house than on showing it to his clients, a troubled young couple. His bizarre incompetence increases the tension between them, finally driving them into one another's arms. A young man flees town in "Mrs. Box," hoping to leave the twin disasters of his marriage and his business behind. He stops to visit his wife's senile grandmother and suddenly resolves to rob her of her jewelry, only to find a half-measure of redemption when his plan misfires. In the title story, Paul is the only one on the school playground who can call Timothy back from his werewolf fantasy, but Paul, who is already taunted for smelling weird, can't risk being associated too closely with his strange pal. As a result, Timothy attacks a fellow student and is reassigned to a "Special School." The closing tale, "In the Black Mill," presented as a story by August Van Zorn, a writer Chabon invented in Wonder Boys, is a brilliant riff on pulp horror tales featuring an archeologist who unearths the terrifying secrets of a small town. Here, Chabon is as witty as ever while dispensing with the glibness that sometimes marred his earlier work. His characters, even whey they are silly and flawed, come across as sympathetic, three-dimensional human beings. Author tour.