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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon 
23rd-May-2006 11:57 am
Writers like this make me think that maybe even I could get published after all! And HE won a Pulitzer...

Chabon, Michael. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. 1988. New York: Harper Perennial, 2005.
Summary: Son of mafia kingpin Art Bechstein makes three new friends during the summer after college graduation--and finds himself both romantically torn between Phlox (a woman) and Arthur (a man) and getting dragged down by Cleveland, who wants into big-time crime. In the end, Cleveland is dead, betrayed by Art's father, and Art flees Pittsburgh and the rest of it with Arthur...but even they don't stick together for long.
Comments: Ugh. What do people SEE in this novel!? Not only is it needlessly difficult to read, sentences cluttered with multiple clauses and waxing poetic with near-pointlessness, the characters...*shudders* Besides the clunky dialogue sporting Anglo sentence constructions (I thought we were in the US!), suffice to say that I felt like I was reading some adolescent male wet dream fantasy of how absolutely cool he only wishes he and his friends were. Son of a gangster protagonist? Men and women alike who chain-smoke, do drugs, and ooze more sex appeal than they know what to do with? C'mon! Throwaway wish-fulfillment shounen manga--and I don't care that you KNOW it's all an exaggeration! This is great literature??? People say that Chabon is a "great young writer," but by God if it don't get any better than this I feel sorry for their lack of good judgment. His books seem to end up quite often in the children's section of the bookstore, but I can't help wondering if that's due less to actual age-appropriateness than to fundamental immaturity. Though at the end the novel makes obligatory nods toward the "this youthful center cannot hold" theme, reality never even bothers to encroach. No one is going to convince me that being an irresponsible world traveler is any more mature than being an irresponsible college student.
Notes: trade paperback, 2nd printing
Rating: 3.5/10 - Overrated crap-ola that makes passable trashy reading...and nothing else.
31st-May-2006 07:19 pm (UTC)
Review archived.
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