Grady Tripp is a middle aged philander with a penchant for pot and failed marriages, who is unable to complete the long awaited follow up to his award winning novel. His brilliant student James Leer is a troubled you writer obsessed with Hollywood suicides and prone to fabrication and petty thievery. In their odyssey through the streets of Pittsburgh, Grady and James are joined by Grady's pregnant mistress, his hilariously bizarre editor an achingly beautiful student lodger. The result is a wildly comic, poignantly moving and ultimately profound search for past promise, future fame and a purpose to Grady's life.
If you saw the movie, the major difference is that you get to spend more time with just about every character, so the motivations and feeling become clear. Also Grady is no Micheal Douglas, he is a heavy tall guy, like grizzly. In some ways this book reminds me of Jonathan Irving Hotel New Hampshire or the World According to Garp.
I have a tall stack of library books (from two plus library systems) to read, but I borrowed the film based on this book from the library, for only one week, so I need to read this now. I want to read Chabon's version of the story before I watch Hollywood's. This took me so long to read because the protagonists were not people with whom I wanted to spend time.
The great writer couldn't get to the point without meandering all over Pittsburgh. 'I saw that I could write ten thousand more pages of shimmering prose and still be nothing but a blind minotaur stumbling along broken ground, an unsuccessful, overweight ex- wonder boy with a pot habit and a dead dog in the trunk of my car.' However, liked the movie better; it had an editor.
The movie's characters, as played by Douglas, Downey and Maguire were delightful. The book I found painful and tedious.
You'll be more amused by Chabon's take on the familiar "campus novel" if you've ever lived through a college-level creative writing program or summer writers' conference. But no experience is required for following the nightmarish weekend that Grady Tripp, novelist and teacher, lives through when his campus hosts its annual WordFest writers conference. The least of it involves driving around Pittsburgh and its environs in a green '66 Galaxie ragtop with a bag of pot stashed in the glove compartment, the dented imprint of someone's butt on the hood, and a tuba, a dead dog and a squashed python stowed in its capacious trunk. The dialogue is witty and dead-on. Author Chabon's observations are lush but accurate, and they never hold up the action. (Just make a list of the smells he describes, for example, of an auditorium smelling of "mildewed flag.") This writer just lays down amazing sentences, one after the other. My one problem is that I kept imagining the movie while I was reading -- which had a wonderful cast, and is true to the book in some ways, but not all ways. First-person narrator Grady suffers the most from this disparity. In the book, he's a weighty stoner with bloodshot eyes. In the movie, he's Michael Douglas of the indestructible Douglas family chin and profile. Even with the ghost of the movie hovering over it, I thought this was a damn good book.
I thought this was a laugh out loud book. I still use "Verne took the bullet" when I want to change the subject.
Another book that I am reviewing only to say "The movie wasn't as good." If you saw this movie and so think it would ruin the book for you-- you are wrong. The best and most entertaining part of the novel was completely left out of the film. Don't let Katie Holmes ruin this thrilling ride for you. ReAD ThIs BOoK!
I love love love Michael Chabon's genre work. His science fiction, mysteries, fantasy, historical fiction, but this--- left me cold. Couldn't somebody have flown or time traveled or become a king? I didn't *like* these characters. I like his characters in his genre fiction-- a lot. I like these characters very much as played by actors in the movie based on this book. I was really looking forward to this book, so that it didn't work for me disappointed me. Oh well. I still really, really like his genre fiction.
library book....great shape!!
From the book jacket: Grady Tripp is a middle-aged philanderer with a penchange for pot and failed marriages, who is unable to complete the long-awaited follow-up to his award-winning novel. His brilliant student James Leer is a troubled young writer obsessed with Hollywood suicides and prone to fabrication and petty thievery. In tehir odyssey through the streets of Pittsburgh, Grady and James are joined by Grady's pregnant mistress, his hilariously bizarre editor, and an achingly beautiful student lodget. The result is a wildly comic, poignantly moving and ultimately profound search for past promise, future fame, and a purpose to Grady's life.
AUDIO BOOK ON TAPE
3 hours on 2 cassettes