Wednesday, 21 May 2008

A rediscovery

American writer Laurie R. King – author of The Beekeeper’s Apprentice amongst other things – has a great blog here.
A post she put up a day or two ago about Michael Chabon really intrigued me. Not only is he a writer of off-beat sci-fi crime (inter alia) he is also a cultural critic. I read the article Laurie mentioned (from the LA Times) and, when I subsequently googled Michael Chabon, I was reminded that I had read his first novel - The Mysteries of Pittsburgh - almost twenty years ago and really enjoyed it. Why hadn’t I followed it up with his other stuff? I suspect it’s because his work is published in the US and not necessarily available or flagged up over here – with the internet little more than a twinkle in Tim Berners Lee’s eye in 1988 there was no Amazon to chase books up, so Mr Chabon dropped off my radar.

I said a quite ‘hooray’ when reading the LA Times article because MC is basically saying ‘hey people, let’s not be so uptight about the whole high-brow, low-brow thing’. As somebody who is on record as saying that I am not an automatic fan of ‘literary’ novels, that I never watch art-house films and like rock music just as much – often more, because I’m more often in the mood – as classical, this message is liable to appeal to me. But he’s not just asking us to get off our high horses about what’s worthwhile and what’s not, he’s actually making a very real point about the function and source of entertainment, a point which we ignore to our own detriment, I think.

So, read the article and check out Michael Chabon’s work. I can’t resist the sound of his The Yiddish Policeman’s Union – nearly as good as The Herring Seller’s Apprentice in the ‘buy me, I’m different and funny and literate’ stakes. I shall be acquiring it as soon as funds allow.


Aliya Whiteley said...

Someone recommended his books to me a few months ago.

I really enjoyed The Yiddish Policemen's Union, but I think The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is my fave.

Alis said...

Thanks, Aliya, maybe I'll start with that one!

Len Tyler said...

Sounds interesting. Thanks for the recommendation and thanks for the kind mention of Herring Seller!

KAREN said...

Very good article. We should definitely reclaim entertainment as a two-way exchange - I can't understand why it got such a bad name in the first place!