Stuck: Michael Chabon’s “Wonder Boys”
Where do I even start with this book?
It is, quite honestly, one of the best-written books I have ever read, ever. I think it took me such a long time to read because the first few pages or so didn’t really attract me, in terms of plot, but Chabon’s sentences, my goodness. His sentences are flawless. I want to marry his sentences. Or, in the words of Tracy Jordan, I love his sentences so much, I want to take them behind the middle school and get them pregnant.
Chabon manages to craft a character completely the opposite of me—middle-aged, etc.—and still have me feel as though I related to him completely. He begins by talking about the “midnight disease,” described as such: “The midnight disease is a kind of emotional insomnia; at ever conscious moment its victim—even if he or she writes at dawn, or in the middle of the afternoon—feels like a person lying in a sweltering bedroom, with the window thrown open, looking up at a sky filled with stars and airplaines, listening to the narrative of a rattling blind, an ambulance, a fly trapped in a Coke bottle, while all around him the neighbors soundly sleep.” He begins by talking about the midnight disease, and lays out one of the biggest conflicts in the story, that Grady Tripp does not know how to write anymore. Yes, he manages a 2,611-page manuscript in seven years, but the “unknowing” he is facing, I feel, is the unknowing how to write well, how to write with a point, with a meaning, with a purpose. I think most of the book also deals with these issues, although not really applied to writing, but to the rest of the rickety life Grady Tripp lives.
It deals with the many complicated layers that are attached to issues of family and love. Of making difficult choices, of sticking by the decisions that you do choose to make in the end. The novel progresses in only a handful of days, but I think that the reader will have traveled across many deep realizations about and...
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