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Mysteries Of Pittsburgh: A Novel Paperback – Jun 23 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial (June 23 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060790598
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060790592
  • Product Dimensions: 20.6 x 13.7 x 2.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #265,918 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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Format: Paperback
It's really wonderful to see the beginnings of Michael Chabon's signature style emerge in this tender, often funny coming of age story. It took me back to university and all the strange boundaries we're encouraged to explore and push in those years. Recommended.
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Format: Paperback
The story is very interesting, I just love it. Strongly recommend you to read it.
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By Schmadrian TOP 500 REVIEWER on Feb. 9 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm a fan of Chabon's stuff. But I began in the middle of his oeuvre, then over time worked forwards, then backwards. So maybe this informed my reaction to this, his début.

I'm still not sure how I feel about it. I wasn't enthralled. There was a poetic grace at play...but I never felt as charmed as I'd expected I would.

Maybe the problem I had was that the characters are of an 'unformed age'. They don't have all the answers. (They hardly seem interested in the questions.) There's behaviour here that is the domain of the near-adult; a sort of indulgent recklessness that's less energetic than the type teenagers exhibit...maybe dulled by the anticipated onset of adulthood and the flatness it invariably brings. At times Chabon veers towards being precious...but it's only ever a threat. At least that's how I remember it. Of course, what all this means is that he represented the characters' ages well.

There's a definite sparseness in the prose, a softness of declaration that fits with the characters.

And I appreciated how much he left out, especially given that this was a summer's tale.

'The Mysteries of Pittsburgh' is its own tale, regardless of how much it owes to any of the tales that suggested its writing.

But despite all the quiet mastery of its execution, I'm not sure I'd recommend it. It might be the kind of novel best discovered by the reader either by chance or by legacy, rather than having it places in their hand.

Such is Chabon.

Personal rating: 7.5/10
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By A Customer on May 26 2004
Format: Paperback
I read this book when it first came out, years ago, and felt compelled to response to some of the comments here. This is my first Amazon review.
This book first drew me BECAUSE of the lyrical nature of the writing and the theme of coming-of-age. Yes, Chabon is a walking thesaurus, as others have said of his books, but gee -- LOOK IT UP! Want your books to be pap? Read Dick and Jane, then. Want your language to be simple? Read Hemingway. This is neither.
But, if you want a thoughtful, lyrical story that captures a moment in a young man's life, read this. Then read Chabon's other books. You won't be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
Reading the other reviews, it seems that fans of Chabon are a little harsh in their reviews of this book ... although it does not compare to Wonder Boys or Kavalier & Clay, the Mysteries of Pittsburgh is a fun read and a charming tale. The larger-than-life personae in this book and the general course of the novel draws immediate comparisons to F. Scott Fitzgerald, and of course while such comparisons will come up short, Mysteries of Pittsburgh is an enjoyable, artfully constructed book full of unforgettable characters.
The themes central to this story- love, ambition, uncertainty of oneself as an individual, the futility of running away from one's personal demons to name a few- are more fully developed in Chabon's later works, but they are no less a presence in Mysteries in Pittsburgh. Others have been a bit dismissive of the "first novel" label on this book, but still when looking at a book and at an author it is important to recognize where he or she started creatively and what direction they have moved in. As such, while Mysteries of Pittsburgh is not Chabon's greatest work by any means, it is a good start to the rest of his books and even on its own merits, is certainly worth the time taken to read it.
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Format: Paperback
"The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" was Michael Chabon's first novel, and it certainly feels like it.
The writing is delicate, well-considered, and just a bit precious. The epic, pitch-perfect sentences that color "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" are nowhere to be found in "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh." The story is standard novice-novelist fare: A sweetly nostalgiac coming of age story, with an obligatory crisis of sexuality. The book's biggest strength is in its characters. They're strong and memorable, and the conversations between them hint at the flair for whip-smart dialogue that is so prevalent and effortless in Chabon's later works it's easy to take for granted. A few of the characters pop up, albeit in different skins, with different context, in "The Amazing Adventures of Kavlier & Clay" and "Wonder Boys."
"The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" is a very enjoyable book. The characters ring true, and the story, though it tends toward stasis, is one of the best of its kind. For fans of Chabon, it highlights just how much he's grown as a writer and storyteller. It's profound in a subtle, understated way, and while it is hardly as masterful as the novels that would follow it, it's a solid, pretty, consistent effort from one of modern fiction's greatest writers.
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Format: Paperback
This was my second read from Chabon and while "Wonder Boys" made me a fan, I was a little disappointed with this one. Once again, I found the characters were well developed but the bizarre love triangle between Art, Arthur, and Phlox got to be boring after a while. There were moments I just wanted to scream out loud for him to pick someone and stay in their bed for petes sake!
While I won't recommend this for a first time Chabon reader, it is good if you're bored with nothing else to read. Will I read it again - probably not. But I loved the idea of a family of Jewish gangsters. Plus, Cleveland was what made me really want to finish the novel in the end.
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