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Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son (P.S.)by Michael Chabon
Michael Chabon composes dazzling prose. His love for the art of storytelling is evident in everything he writes. His writing is smart, insightful, candid, funny, sympathetic, and mischievous. This gifted combination makes for one of the rare writers from whom a reader always knows to expect something altogether enjoyable. Some of Chabon's works are indeed gems, but all of them are great books.
Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son is precisely what the subtitle says it is. Comprised mostly of essays that were published previously in Details magazine, this collection finds Chabon musing on subjects as disparate as circumcision, baseball, marijuana, superheroes, menarche, Captain Underpants, imagination, Legos, and having sex with your mom's friend when you're 15. It truly seems that Chabon can take any topic, however inherently mundane or fascinating, and craft a piece that is both well written and engrossing. Perhaps what is most magnificent about his writing is that it seems to come from a genuine curiosity and thoughtfulness for things, as is well evident in his fiction. Manhood for Amateurs contains some excellent pieces and, as a whole, is about as good a collection of essays as you're apt to find amongst any of his contemporaries.
Synopses & Reviews
The Pulitzer Prize-winning author — an immensely gifted writer and a magical prose stylist (Michiko Kakutani, New York Times) — offers his first major work of nonfiction, an autobiographical narrative as inventive, beautiful, and powerful as his acclaimed, award-winning fiction.
A shy manifesto, an impractical handbook, the true story of a fabulist, an entire life in parts and pieces, 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 lives: as a series of reflections, regrets, and reexaminations, each sparked by an encounter, in the present, that holds some legacy of the past.
What does it mean to be a man today? Chabon invokes and interprets and struggles to reinvent for us, with characteristic warmth and lyric wit, the personal and family history that haunts him even as — simply because — it goes on being written every day. As a devoted son, as a passionate husband, and above all as the father of four young Americans, Chabon presents his 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, as a theme played — on different instruments, with a fresh tempo and in a new key — 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.
"Wondrous, wise and beautiful." David Kamp, New York Times Book Review
"Chabon has always been a magical prose stylist, adept at combining the sort of social and emotional detail found in Philip Roth's Goodbye, Columbus stories with the metaphor-rich descriptions of John Updike and John Irving's inventive sleight of hand." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Manhood is no self-help book on how to be a better father, although I'd argue it can't hurt. Its instructions are more literary: how to write graceful essays that seamlessly jump between the specific and general, while helping to raise four children, which is as specific as anything gets." USA Today
"[A] fully coherent, incisive examination of his roles as a father, husband, child, writer, and celebrated, self-proclaimed geek....By so profoundly connecting with his own inner child, Chabon makes the business of raising children seem as effortless and graceful as his beguiling fiction." Boston Globe
"[A] delightful new collection of essays....I would encourage every practicing adult out there to read Chabon's book. It will not only entertain them — though surely it will; it will also encourage and inspire them to continue honing their endlessly demanding, endlessly rewarding practice." Chicago Tribune
"The results are hilarious, moving, pleasurable, disturbing, transcendent, restless and sometimes a trifle cantankerous — but almost never dull. This energy arises mainly because Chabon seems drawn to his opposites, the masculine tribes to which he doesn't belong." The San Francisco Chronicle
In his first sustained work of personal writing, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Chabon offers these provocative, autobiographical essays — a series of reflections, regrets, and reexaminations, each sparked by an encounter in the present.
A shy manifesto, an impractical handbook, the true story of a fabulist, an entire life in parts and pieces, Manhood for Amateurs is the first sustained work of personal writing from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon. In these insightful, provocative, slyly interlinked essays, one of our most brilliant and humane writers addresses with his characteristic warmth and lyric wit the all-important question: What does it mean to be a man today?
This witty and affecting memoir relays the misadventures of a commitment-phobic couple who, on the heels of a heartbreaking year, try to catapult themselves into adulthood by purchasing a dilapidated former crack house and attempting to turn it into a home.
An improbably funny account of how the purchase and restoration of a disaster of a fixer-upper saves a young marriage
When a season of ludicrous loss tests the mettle of their marriage, Matthew Batt and his wife decide not to call it quits. They set their sights instead on the purchase of a dilapidated house in the Sugarhouse section of Salt Lake City. With no homesteading experience and a full-blown quarter-life crisis on their hands, these perpetual grad students/waiters/nonprofiteers decide to seek salvation through renovation, and do all they can to turn a former crack house into a home. Dizzy with despair, doubt, and the side effects of using the rough equivalent of napalm to detoxify their house, they enter into full-fledged adulthood with power tools in hand.
Heartfelt and joyous, Sugarhouse is the story of how one couple conquers adversity and creates an addition to their family, as well as their home.
“Chabon has always been a magical prose stylist, adept at combining the sort of social and emotional detail found in Philip Roths Goodbye, Columbus stories with the metaphor-rich descriptions of John Updike and John Irvings inventive sleight of hand. . . . As in his novels, he shifts gears easily between the comic and the melancholy, the whimsical and the serious, demonstrating once again his ability to write about the big subjects of love and memory and regret without falling prey to the Scylla and Charybdis of cynicism and sentimentality.”
— Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
“Wondrous, wise and beautiful.”
The bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Werewolves in Their Youth, Wonderboys, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, and The Yiddish Policemens Union Michael Chabon “takes [his] brutally observant, unfailingly honest, marvelously human gaze and turns it on his own life” (Time) in the New York Times bestselling memoir Manhood for Amateurs.
About the Author
Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Model World, Wonder Boys, Werewolves in Their Youth, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Summerland (a novel for children), The Final Solution, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, Maps and Legends, and Gentlemen of the Road.
He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.
Table of Contents
What Well Call Home 3
The Scene and the Scenery 9
The Cuts and Clarities of Diamonds 36
Chuck Norris Time 48
South of Bountifu 61
On Moving On 70
Gathering Jacks 85
The Mandoor 94
This Little Knife of Mine 103
Fast Dancing 117
Lesser Acts of Transubstantiation 126
Remnants of an Ancient Sea 143
Getting Out of Sand Traps 160
In Defense of Dilettantes 175
Behind the Confectionary 187
Finish, Carpenter! 207
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