After tackling novels, short stories, genre fiction, screenplays, a young adult novel, and, last year, his first work of nonfiction (Maps and Legends
, a collection of linked essays), Michael Chabon finally talks about his own life in these personal narratives on manhood.
The book acts as a manual of sorts, divided into sections with playfully instructive titles like "Techniques of Betrayal," "Exercises in Masculine Affection," and "Tactics of Wonder and Loss." This gives a loose structure to a collection that explores, in non-chronological fashion, Chabon's variety of roles as father, son, teenager, friend, and husband, among others.
Since the essays tend to be short (one of them is only three pages, and many are not much longer), it's difficult to be immersed in one story for long before moving on to a different time, setting, and mood. But the book seems...
Beyond the Book
Ayelet Waldman's Bad Mother
Several months before the release of Chabon's Manhood for Amateurs, his wife, writer Ayelet Waldman, published a memoir called Bad Mother: A Chronicle of Maternal Crimes, Minor Calamities, and Occasional Moments of Grace, which offers another look at the Chabon/Waldman family.
The book stems partly from Waldman's controversial essay published in the New York Times' "Modern Love" column, in which she confessed to loving her husband more than her children. In these 18 essays, Waldman fleshes out her relationship with her four children and her husband, writing with raw, sometimes...