An interesting story about a young man spending a summer trying to discover himself, through relationships with men and women, in a Pittsburgh made strange with wonder. This was Chabon's first book, and that shows in the writing sometimes. This paperback edition includes an essay by him about writing it.
All in all it's not a BAD read, but not one of my favorites. It starts off slow - doesn't honestly keep your attention until 30 pages in. The characters are flat at times, the story line seemed a bit too jumpy.
Sure, because it's Chabon it's beautifully, gorgeously overwritten...
I don't like his characters when he's not writing genre fiction. Yiddish Policemen, Kavalier & Clay, even Final Solution, Summerland and Gentlemen of the Road all had characters I wanted to read about, people I wanted to spend time with, people whose lives enriched mine. In this book and Wonder Boys -- admittedly, the books that made Chabon Chabon, for most people, he writes about whiners, losers, men who can't make up their minds, men who don't act, or when they finally act, choose wrongly. In genre books it's all about action, so those characters I love.
Your mileage will probably differ from mine, and you may love this book. Enjoy!
For me, I hope he continues to get awards and get on the bestseller lists for his genre fiction, so he continues to write it!
We recently moved to Pittsburgh and I was excited to read a book that takes place here by the super-talented Michael Chabon. In a nutshell, it's about a college grad floating through the summer after his senior year before thinking about a career. Even though I graduated from college more than 20 years ago, it took me right back to that 21-year-old perspective. I was fascinated and repelled as the narrator worked his way through a series of bad romantic choices and questionable situations, but it was a fun and different kind of read for me. This was Michael Chabon's first novel, written when he was in his twenties, but his stylistic and emotional maturity were beyond his years.
I only liked certain parts of this book, but for the most part, the characters didn't seem very real.
In Michael Chabon's debut novel The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Art Bechstein has just graduated from college in Pittsburgh and meets a set of interesting characters during the ensuing summer. It's meant to evoke a larger sense of wonder, in the tradition of The Great Gatsby, but most of the novel seems to be downtime for the somewhat confused protagonist and his stranger-than-life social circle of that summer. There are the interesting imagery and turns of phrase which are characteristic of Chabon's other writing, but perhaps I needed to read his essay on the writing of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh at the end of the volume to clue myself into this story, his master's thesis at the University of California at Irvine turned bestseller.
This is one of those novels that while I was a freshman in college, I was all over it. But as an adult, I started to see the imperfections. It's a breezy read and has some great moments, but don't expect much from the characters. They're flat and predictable for the most part.
Being a Pittsburgh native I had to read this. I was really glad that I did. Very Holden Caufield.
A very funny and eloquent book-a book that both earns and wears easily such adjectives as "brillant"...The Mysteries of Pittsburgh is a funny, charming, hugely entertaining, and excellently written book.
As always, Chabon doesn't disappoint. A great, easy read about a summer of coming of age. You don't be disappointed (although The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is much better).
Unique style, well-written, captivating.
library book....great shape!!
This was the first Cahbon book I read, and I really enjoyed it. It sparked a mission to find more. But really, why are all his characters gay?
Chabon did his BA where I did mine, only years before I got there.
This book is also registered at BookCrossing.com. I hope you'll journal your thoughts when you've finished reading it.