The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon… quickly

August 15, 2007 at 5:58 am 2 comments

1. It reminds me of people. In particular two friends of mine from college, which of course means it captures youth perfectly.

2. It’s controlled. Chabon isn’t interested in splattering Michael Chabon mega-genius across every page, but rather it’s like he’s so in love with these two characters that he forgets himself and like Arthur, his words are plotted for maximum manipulation, humor, and pathos.

3. The gay experience if essentially the San Francisco of our generation. Everyone has had this experience, but that’s what troubles me about the novel, it’s ending ends with a call towards women as being preferable because they’re different, similar to my pronouncement a few weeks back that loving a guy is easy, but a women harder. I felt disappointed that Chabon wasn’t capable of providing me with more enlightenment beyond what I had already realized. After all while Phlox might have an engrossing world, this doesn’t quite capture the feeling of finding the right one, that special little opposite sex-er with the clever ideas and good haircut. Is dating the wrong girl really better than the right guy? Phlox, I guess, isn’t a good foil for Arthur Lecomete, who seems like a much better partner for Art than Phlox. Cleveland and Jane are a heterosexual couple that make out Chabon’s idea in a better light. Phlox weakens Art’s argument by her very vapidness, while Jane and Cleveland show how even the difference of sex can be a way of growing closer than Art and Art probably could.

4. Modern day literature seems to be marked by authors who gloriously expel their failures whether is Foster Wallace’s realization that he’s not a genius or Dave Egger’s humility or Steve Erickson’s repetition etc. However Chabon is genuinely a good author, unlike Wallace’s early stuff Chabon’s writing is the product of plotting and contemplation unlike Eggers he isn’t dependent on auto-biography for his stories, lastly he is able to bring his novels to a satisfying conclusion while making the story churn into the finely form ideals needed to not only lend it emotional weight, but to let the concepts take flight.

5. It made me rethink my own views of my own literature. It made me think maybe I could be an author… if ya know I only actually wrote something sometimes.

6. The ending nearly made me cry and the book’s characters really are so lovable it’s hard to believe.

Entry filed under: art, books, media, sex.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. franq  |  August 16, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    I enjoyed your comments about Chabon’s MOP, my all-time favorite book.

    I’ll venture to say that Chabon chose to end with comments about loving a women being preferred as that is the path he took in his own life. Though I can’t help but wonder if he regrets it as he keeps coming back to the closeted-gay theme in his later work.

    Have you heard about the film adaptation in which 85% of the story has been CHANGED, with Chabon’s full approval?

    Gay Arthur has been completely CUT, Phlox is barely in it as she is now Art’s ex g/f and Cleveland has become Art’s bisexual lover, along with Jane.

    I’ve red the screenplay and it’s good… Just not MOP. Which is why I’ve started the official boycott:

    For more info contact me: bechstein[at]yahoo[dot]com

  • 2. dignifieddevil  |  August 17, 2007 at 5:34 am

    Sexualities aren’t perfect and chances are Michael returns to the theme more becuase it’s in his thoughts even though the actual desire might not be there entirely. personably I think it’s better to keep your options open. the changing of the movie to a bi-with cleveland thing might not be that bad, although ya know it does change things a little.


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