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The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (P.S.)by Michael Chabon
Pulitzer Prize-winner Chabon's first novel (written for his master's thesis at UC Irvine) was published when he was twenty-five, and quickly became a bestseller. Set in the steel ciy, this hilarious coming-of-age story tells the tale of Art Bechstein's first summer after college. Themes, such as confused sexuality, identity crises, and displaced ambitions, and vivid characters (a father who is a Jewish mobster, a capricious librarian named Phlox) combine to form an uproarious and lyrical narrative. Strong characterizations and resplendent prose mark Chabon's debut, an unforgettable book that is both charming and poignant.
Synopses & Reviews
Set in industrial Pittsburgh in the mid-eighties, Michael Chabon's breakthrough coming-of-age novel chronicles the last summer of Art Bechstein's youth. Art meets the witty and beautiful Arthur Lecomte, who then introduces Art to the equally stunning Jane, her boyfriend, the legendary Cleveland, and worldly, exotic, and slightly eccentric Phlox. In the course of one summer, this band of colorful friends guides and thwarts Art in surprising ways as he confronts himself, his family, his sexuality, and the heartache of growing up.
"Generally, first novels appear and disappear unnoticed; however, when one does draw attention, too often it takes the form of extravagant praise. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is very good, a first novel I expect many people will read with pleasure this year but which I think other readers will discover and enjoy many years from now. Chabon never writes with boring predictability or flat language: his tale of a young man's summer is fresh and engaging even though we've already read so many other tales of young men coming of age. But my praise will not be extravagant: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is not of grand scope nor its investigations of great depth. One can enjoy this novel but still anticipate with pleasure a future work of greater import from Michael Chabon." Reviewed by Don Fry, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
"There's a lot of talk about this novel. It's almost as if there's going to be a great big literary bash. The guys who will be on the guest list are a cinch. Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn and Holden Caulfield....And now, from The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Art Bechstein." Washington Post Book World
"A very daring, vivid and exciting book." Cosmopolitan
"Absolutely terrific....Anybody can write a realistic account of his first postgraduation summer of growing up and making love, but to make such a story the stuff of legend, as Chabon has done here (and Fitzgerald did before him), takes something close to genius." Playboy
"[A] very funny and very eloquent book — a book that both earns and wears easily such adjectives as 'brilliant'...The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is a funny, charming, hugely entertaining and excellently written book." Pittsburgh Press
"Remarkable....What makes this book — and Chabon — worth our attentiation is [that] Chabon has chosen not merely to record all the ills of an oversexed, overindulged generation with nowhere to go but to bed or to a bar; he has chosen to explore, to enter this world and try to find what makes it work, why love and friendship choose to visit some, deny others." Los Angeles Times
"Chabon's writing is deft and delicate — almost every page includes a delightful phrase or two. He mingles dialogue, the Pittsburgh cityscape, descriptions of the characters' acticity and Art's thoughts and feelings to achieve that magical illusion good novels give — that the reader is living the character's life with all its savors, jokes and pangs." Boston Herald
Chabon provides a brilliantly fresh first novel and national bestseller about the joys and pains of youth coming of age. "Astonishing....The voice of a young writer with tremendous skill as he discovers, joyously, just what his words can do." New York Times
The enthralling debut from bestselling novelistMichael Chabon is a penetrating narrative of complexfriendships, father-son conflicts, and the awakening of a young mans sexualidentity. Chabon masterfully renders the funny,tender, and captivating first-person narrative of Art Bechstein,whose confusion and heartache echo the tones of literary forebears like The Catcher in the Ryes HoldenCaulfield and The Great Gatsbys NickCarraway. TheMysteries of Pittsburgh incontrovertibly established Chabonas a powerful force in contemporary fiction, even before his PulitzerPrize-winning novel The AmazingAdventures of Kavalier & Clay set theliterary world spinning. An unforgettable story of coming of age in America, itis also an essential milestone in the movement of American fiction, from anovelist who has become one of the most important and enduring voices of thisgeneration.
By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
Now reissued, Michael Chabon's "New York Times" bestselling first novel is a funny, tender coming-of-age novel that introduces readers to Art Bechstein, a Holden Caulfield for the post-Boomer/pre-Gen X-er generation. Chabon's first novel was universally lauded as the arrival of a rare and remarkable new literary talent who has proved to be one of our most profound and original writers.
About the Author
Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Werewolves in Their Youth, Wonderboys, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Summerland (a novel for children), and The Final Solution. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.
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