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A Collection of Pieces

  • Oct 7, 2009
Chabon, Michael. "Manhood for Amateurs; The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son", HarperCollins, 2009.

A Collection of Pieces

Amos Lassen

Michael Chabon's collection of thoughts on being a man ranges from light thoughts to some very poignant and dramatic moments as well as several sustained meditations. If there is unifying themes they are memory and nostalgia. The book is a way to look at the past. However what makes this book special is the author's style--he is sharp and he knows how to treat the reader. He digresses but we digress with him.
Chabon has no problem denigrating himself and does so in some of the finest English language. He goes right to the point with his fluent style. He writes with humor and caustic wit yet his writing is formal and crisp. His work is personal and for that alone is this book worth reading. His thoughts on the loss of innocence ring true and he grounds his cultural criticisms so that they are anecdotal and personal. It's a wonderful read with a lot to say.

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review by . May 08, 2012
While I find Chabon a good, at times amazing writer, all of his books I've read to date suffer from what seems a labored effort to go beyond just good, to amazing and beyond.        Here, the writing is a collection of essays on manhood:  the ways, means, and absurdities of being a son, a husband, and a father.  Some, especially on the subject of fatherhood, are excellent, and contain rare jewels.  "In my children, I have found a band of companions," …
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Amos Lassen ()
Ranked #210
I am an academic who reivews movies and books of interest to the GLBT and Jewish communities.   I came to Arkansas after having been relocated here due to Hurricane Katrina. I was living in … more
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About this book


An entertaining omnibus of opinionated essays previously published mostly inDetailsmagazine spotlights novelist Chabon's (The Yiddish Policemen's Union) model of being an attentive, honest father and a fairly observant Jew. Living in Berkeley, Calif., raising four children with his wife, Ayelet Waldman, who has also just published a collection of parenting stories (Bad Mother), Chabon, at 45, revisits his own years growing up in the 1970s with a mixture of rue and relief. A child of the suburbs of Maryland and elsewhere, where children could still play in what he calls in one essay the Wilderness of Childhood, he enjoyed a freedom now lost to kids, endured the divorce of his parents, smoked a lot of pot, suffered a short early marriage and finally found his life's partner, who takes risks where he won't. The essays are tidily arranged around themes of manly affection (his first father-in-law, his younger brother); styles of manhood, such as faking at being a handyman; and patterns of early enchantment, such as his delight in comic books, sci-fi and stargazing. Candid, warm and humorous, Chabon's essays display his habitual attention to craft.(Oct.)
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ISBN-10: 0061490180
ISBN-13: 978-0061490187
Author: Michael Chabon
Publisher: Harper

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"A Collection of Pieces"
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