Frustrating Mar 24, 2007
I finally finished the long, frustrating, boring read that is The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, by Michael Chabon.
Normally I finish books in a month at the most, a weekend at the least, depending on my workload. This took me about 2 months, as I kept not wanting to read it, choosing instead to read my fiancee's old comic books before bed. The story follows a recent college graduate during his first summer out of undergrad. He makes some new friends, as he seems not to have had any worth keeping from school. Shenanigans supposedly ensue.
Chabon is skilled at imagery, and although the plot and characterization were flat and dull, I did feel the heat and humidity of the surroundings, and the book did play in my head like a movie. That duly noted, my specific problem with this book is that none of the characters are particularly likable, save one, and only then within the last two chapters. I don't normally mandate likable protagonists, but in this case I could have used someone to give a hoot about. For the first 7/8ths of the book, the plot essentially meandered lazily, following a main character who really doesn't know himself. And then the secondary characters, as they emerge, never develop beyond two dimensions.
Anyway, the last two chapters suddenly zing full of life, energy, and character. I deeply wish that the narrative thread had been present in this way throughout the entire book.
Those interested in Michael Chabon would be better to stick with the brilliant Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.