Saturday, January 25, 2014

Review: "A Model World" by Michael Chabon

The only thing I dislike more in Michael Chabon’s career than his recent output may be his early output, because his short Story collection, A Model World, may be the least impressive book, standing behind only the dreck that he came onto the scene with, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. It falls into doing something I really cannot stand when it comes to short stories: nothing ever happens. A few emotions are uncovered, and certain desires and wants come to the surface in these stories, but no real action take place. I’m not really judging those kinds of stories on their literary merit, authors like Raymond Carver are masters of the form, and his stories have very little action. It really comes down to preference, and I just prefer my stories to have a kind of weirder bent to them. It is a small enough form to experiment with, so I like it when a story loses its marbles a bit. My favorite short story writers; Dan Chaon, Haruki Murakami, Flannery O’ Conner and Joe R. Lansdale, all write stories that walk that line between insanity and brilliance very well. But having said that, I still feel that Chabon’s first collection is not a very good one. They all have interesting settings, especially the last one, which involves a group of kids who appear to be breaking into a house to proposition a foreign girl for sex. But I found it easy to lose the motivation of each character, probably because none of them were very well drawn-out, and what motivations they had, if any at all, were not really clear, or got in the way of what Chabon really wanted to express in the short form. I can’t be too made at this collection. It is from a very early period in the life of a literary superstar, and I’m glad to say that Wonderboys, Chabon’s best book, was right around the corner.

Rating: 3/5

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