Friday, May 04, 2007

Michael Chabon and My Dad

[This post has nothing to do with Ayelet.]

I've been reading Michael Chabon for a long time. Except I should say that I used to read Michael Chabon.

I read Mysteries of Pittsburgh the summer it came out (sorry, this is going to be a linkless post, but, come on, you know these books, or you can find them yourself) and quite loved it. I read Wonder Boys soon after it came out and thought it was quite wonderful as well.

Then Michael Chabon turned into my dad.

Huh? How could the love of Ayelet's life, that Berkeley-based, intellectualish, liberal Jewish writer, be my dad? (I guess I couldn't keep her out of it.)

Well, my dad was born in Germany in 1937 and escaped to New York in 1941. When he was sick as a child, he would read comics and listen to the radio. So he was a 40s and 50s pop culture kind of kid. He was also, like every Jewish boy in New York, a baseball fiend. He played it--he was telling us recently that when he can't sleep, he replays his childhood baseball triumphs in his head--and he was a big Yankees fan, and he listened to games on the radio, and he went once a year to Yankee Stadium for his birthday and once a year to the Polo Grounds to see the Giants. As an adult, he is still a baseball fan (Red Sox--he came to his senses), and his main tastes in reading are literary fiction of certain sorts (certainly not contemporary women's literary or domestic realism) and mysteries.

What does this have to do with Michael Chabon? Uh, The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Summerland, and, just published this week, The Yiddish Policemen's Union.

Interestingly enough, when Michael Chabon turned into my dad is about when I stopped reading him. I read the first 70 or so pages of Kavalier and Clay, and liked it quite well, but put it down and never picked it up again. S read it and loved it, and then we gave it to my dad who also loved it.

Fending off analysis, I will state for the record that I love my dad. And I know what I'm getting him for his 70th birthday this month.

[On the other hand, in this interview, Chabon does not resemble my dad in the least.]


Kelly said...

Too funny. I have been reading him forever, too. Mysteries of Pittsburgh in Brooklyn the summer it came out... But he didn't turn into my dad, so I get to read all of his books all the way through.

Greg said...

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Gregory E. Lang
Author, Why a Daughter Needs a Dad

franQ said...

Hearing all this talk of the new Chabon release makes me a little sad… A year ago, I would have been thrilled and probably obtained an advanced reading copy. He’s been my “favorite” author since I first read his debut novel THE MYSTERIES OF PITTSBURGH back in the early 90s.

But I can no longer support the work of an author who has no regard for the story and characters that put him on the literary map.

In case you haven’t heard, there’s a film version of MOP coming out later this year… Written and directed by the guy who brought us DODGEBALL, in which he’s CHANGED 85% of Chabon’s original story. And the sad part is… Michael Chabon himself APPROVED of the script!

WHY would he do this? I can only think of one possible answer: $$

If you are a Chabon fan, esp MOP, I suggest you do NOT see this movie. You will be sadly disappointed at the COMPLETE removal of the gay character, Arthur Lecomte, and the fabrication of a romantic love triangle between Art Bechstein, Jane Bellwether, and a bi-sexual Cleveland Arning. And really, what is MOP without the presence of Phlox Lombardi? Alas, she’s barely in it.