Whether reflecting on his role as son, brother, husband, or father, Chabon's delightful essays are provocative and insightful. This wide-ranging collection touches on everything from becoming a father to losing a father-in-law (through divorce); from musings on a quirky childhood to a discussion of what society considers to be a "good father" today. He also describes his quandary over what to do with his four children's prolific artwork. By turns poignant and witty, Chabon is a comfortable, inviting narrator. His relaxed and conversational style is shot through with occasional fervent moments. He's unhurried yet precise in his pacing and phrasing, and most of all likably, often ruefully, humorous.
Manhood for Amateurs is the first sustained work of personal writing from Michael Chabon. In these insightful, provocative, slyly interlinked essays, one of our most brilliant and humane writers presents his autobiography and his vision of life in the way so many of us experience our own: as a series of reflections, regrets, and re-examinations, each sparked by an encounter, in the present, that holds some legacy of the past.
What does it mean to be a man today? As a devoted son, as a passionate husband, and above all as a father, Chabon's memories of childhood, of his parents' marriage and divorce, of moments of painful adolescent comedy and giddy encounters with the popular art and literature of his own youth, are like a theme played by the mad quartet of which he now finds himself co-conductor.
At once dazzling, hilarious, and moving, Manhood for Amateurs is destined to become a classic.
©2009 Michael Chabon; (P)2009 HarperCollins Publishers
"Both lyrical and side-splittingly funny.... Readers seeking the intelligence of Updike; the gentle, brainy appeal of Sedaris; or the literary virtuosity of Nabokov will thoroughly enjoy." (Library Journal)
"Chabon takes a big, fat swing at the essay form with his second collection and achieves success....These warm and thoughtful essays underscore just how good a wordsmith Chabon is-regardless of the form he chooses." (Booklist)
"Wry and heartfelt, Chabon's riffs uncover brand-new insights in even the most quotidian subjects....He applies an unusual level of wit and candor to the form." (Kirkus Reviews)