Badkittyuno’s #CBR5 Review #33: Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon
“It was in this man’s class that I first began to wonder if people who wrote fiction were not suffering from some kind of disorder–from what I’ve since come to think of, remembering the wild nocturnal rocking of Albert Vetch, as the midnight disease.”
I read Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union earlier this year, and became determined to read his other books. I happened to see Wonder Boys at a used bookstore while on vacation and grabbed it immediately. Like The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, its combination of comedy and tragedy hooked me at once.
Grady Tripp, author, professor and adulterer, has been working on an enormous novel called Wonder Boys for years. He’s nowhere near finishing it, but that doesn’t keep him from lying to everyone about its status–his wife, his editor, his students and his girlfriend. When his editor comes to town, intent on publishing the damn thing, Tripp introduces him to one of his students, and all hell breaks loose.
This book blends comedy and tragedy in a seriously impressive way. Early on, the student kills Tripp’s girlfriend’s dog, and the whole scene was so surreal that I couldn’t stop laughing. The editor, Crabtree (played by Robert Downey, Jr in the movie, and while I haven’t seen it, that seems spot on) is a disaster, but likable nonetheless. This is only my second Chabon book, but I feel if you’ve enjoyed his other works, you’d like this one for sure.