Manhood for Amateurs
The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son
By Michael Chabon
HarperTorch, Hardcover, 9780061490187, 306pp.
Publication Date: October 6, 2009
List Price: $25.99*
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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.
“Hilarious, moving, pleasurable, disturbing, transcendent, restless. . . . And seemingly by accident, Chabon ultimately does create a composite image of ideal manhood, one that is modest, responsible, bemused, empathic, and thoughtful.”
-Jeremy Adam Smith, San Francisco Chronicle
“Chabon brings his prodigiously entertaining verbal intelligence to a very personal investigation of what it means to be a father, a son, and a husband.”
-Lev Grossman, Time (Top 10 Nonfiction Books Citation)
“Wry and heartfelt, Chabon’s riffs uncover brand-new insights in even the most quotidian subjects. . . . He applies an unusual level of wit and candor to the form.”
-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Both lyrical and side-splittingly funny. . . . Readers seeking the intelligence of Updike; the gentle, brainy appeal of Sedaris; or the literary virtuosity of Nabokov will thoroughly enjoy.”
-Douglas C. Lord, Library Journal
“Chabon takes a big, fat swing at the essay form with his second collection and achieves success. . . . These warm and thoughtful essays underscore just how good a wordsmith Chabon is-regardless of the form he chooses.”
-Jerry Eberle, Booklist
Book reviewer Alan Cheuse selects the highlights of this holiday season: futuristic dystopias; things that go bump in the night; portraits from Norman Rockwell's America; gay New York; a celebration of our immigrant adventures; one writer's journey to manhood; and, of course, Long John Silver. More at NPR.org
Author Michael Chabon has seen manhood from just about every angle — as a boy obsessed with comic books, as a husband serving as a surrogate son to his father-in-law, and now as a dad trying to be honest with his kids about his early years smoking pot. The author, who won a Pulitzer for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, tells host Guy Raz about his amazing adventures in domesticity, chronicled in his new book of essays, Manhood for Amateurs: the Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son. More at NPR.org
The Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist opens up about his experiences as a father to four children and husband to writer Ayelet Waldman in his new book of personal essays, Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father and Son. More at NPR.org
Excerpt: 'Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son' More at NPR.org