A shy manifesto, an impractical handbook, the true story of a fabulist, an entire life in parts and pieces, Manhood for Amateurs ($25.99) is the first sustained work of personal writing from Michael Chabon. In these insightful, provocative, slyly interlinked essays, one of America’s most brilliant and humane writers presents his autobiography and his vision of life in the way so many of us experience our own: as a series of reflections, regrets and re-examinations, 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 renders his memories of childhood, of his parents’ marriage and divorce, 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. The eagerly awaited book will be in stores on October 6th, 2009. I had the opportunity to hear Michael read 6 excerpts from this upcoming work and the pieces were exceptional!