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 assimply becauseit 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 playedon different instruments, with a fresh tempo and in a new keyby 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.
Throughout, Chabon's prose moves elegantly from humor to honesty to poignance. He strikes just the right amount of vulnerability - truthful but not divulging, candid but not crass. Even in nostalgia and regret, the voice is neither sentimental nor self-absorbed. Chabon simply tells his stories. (Reviewed by Julie Wan).
San Francisco Chronicle
... hilarious, moving, pleasurable, disturbing, transcendent, restless and sometimes a trifle cantankerous - but almost never dull.
Los Angeles Times
Chabon proves excellent company, an insightful chatterbox, curious, erudite, occasionally profane and ultimately wise to the delusions of masculinity.
Candid, warm and humorous, Chabon's essays display his habitual attention to craft.
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.
Readers seeking the intelligence of Updike; the gentle, brainy appeal of Sedaris; or the literary virtuosity of Nabokov will thoroughly enjoy what the publisher bills as Chabon's first major nonfiction work.
Starred Review. Wry and heartfelt, Chabon's riffs uncover brand-new insights in even the most quotidian subjects.
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 funny, sometimes heart-wrenching candor about the challenges of motherhood in modern times. Included in the book is an essay on her decision to abort a fetus with the chance of a genetic defect.
Unlike fathers, whose - as Chabon puts it - "historic standard is so pitifully low," mothers...
When his daughter, Amy, died suddenly of a heart condition, Roger Rosenblatt and his wife moved in with their son-in-law and their three young grandchildren. His story tells how a family makes the possible out of the impossible.
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