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Werewolves in Their Youth

3.61 of 5 stars 3.61  ·  rating details  ·  3,234 ratings  ·  194 reviews
Wonder boy Michael Chabon's second collection of stories tackles the American family in all its tragic and often frighteningly funny dysfunction. In the title story, a self-professed "King of the Retards" tries to distance himself from his next-door neighbor and only friend, who has taken their games (Plastic Man, Titanium Man, Matter-Eater Lad) just a little too far. In "...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published 2008 by Harper Perennial (first published January 19th 1999)
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Oscar
Michael Chabon escribió estos cuentos en sus primeros años como escritor. "Chico prodigioso" a temprana edad, la revista New Yorker publicaba sus relatos a mediados de los ochenta, cuando Chabon era un veinteañero. La mayoría de los cuentos que componen este volumen son maravillosos. Con una aparente simplicidad, Chabon escribe sobre matrimonios que se desintegran, y cómo es de difícil el paso de la juventud a la madurez. Mezclando sabiamente el humor, la ironía y el drama, Chabon nos ofrece nue...more
notgettingenough
A paired look at Werewolves in Their Youth and Tales from Firozsha Baag by Mistry. http://www.goodreads.com/review/list/...


I chanced upon these back to back; both short story collections, both by writers in their working youth – Mistry’s first book and an early one for Chabon.

Both as much as anything nostalgic, bittersweet recollections of childhood, the middle class childhoods of their own existences.

Chabon: laugh out loud funny – you know…so that it gets almost irritating for those who are suf...more
Lacy
I am enamored with Michael Chabon. I love short stories. The two combined are a combination worth checking out.
Cody
This has, so far, been the most disappointing book by Chabon that I've read. I would say that he's a very talented writer, one of my favorites, but here he seems tangled in his own words. Beautiful metaphors and images drop from the sky like gleaming marbles, but they land on an otherwise flat, nearly featureless plane. Many sentences feel overwrought to the point where they stretch thin enough to see the webbing that holds them together. Emotions, in particular, don't reach the reader until the...more
Helen
What can I say about Michael Chabon that hasn't already been said?

His dialogue is funny, sad, alive. His descriptions are so sharp, so real, that you feel like you are there, looking through his eyes. He uses words with great precision, but like a particularly deft magic trick, you don't notice any craft--he makes it look so easy.

The first story of the collection, "Werewolves in Their Youth," was heartbreakingly great, about two sad kids, both of them unpopular, both complete with their own set...more
Spike
I'm only rating this four stars due to a few flat stories in the collection (house Hunting and The Harris Fetko Story). The best of the bunch is Son of Wolfman, a tale with precisely the correct lilt of redemption at the end. If this story doesn't lift your heart, read it again and again. My other favorites were the title story and The Black Mill.
In all these tales, Chabon manages to pack tiny corkscrews of philosophy and tangential notions into the prose. He uses quirky metaphors that pull the...more
Philip
Chabon's a brilliant writer, but I didn't feel his imagination had the room to unfurl itself in these short stories. Though told from various points of view and with some clever variants, these are all essentially portraits of middle-class American marriages in collapse. They're well-written and fun -- except when Chabon strays into the area of US sports, making no concessions to the ignorant reader and becoming completely impenetrable -- but basically inconsequential. The one exception is the f...more
Xandra
I am pleased to report there are no werewolves in this short story collection, unless you count the kid pretending to be one. Not even a whiff of fantasy, actually. One horror story and eight slice of [American] life pieces that are mostly relationship-centered (husband-wife, father-son, father-daughter, best friends, etc.). A few spring from good ideas and have interesting endings, but ultimately fail to accomplish much. Thoughts and characters are sent adrift in the general tediousness and poi...more
Chris
When I first heard of this collection of nine short stories I judged the book by its title and assumed it was a collection of horror stories. This turned out to be untrue. All the stories are quite different but a common theme is strained or broken relationships. The stories are well written, easy to read and a good length.

Most of them are thought provoking and empathetic towards the plights of the characters who are well developed and generally likeable. The characters have been carefully writ...more
Rachel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Phil
This collection of short stories is mostly fluff. Highly engagingly written fluff, but fluff nonetheless.

While Chabon has a reputation of being a little more plot-oriented than most modern capital-L Literary authors, most of the stories here are primarily character studies and little "slice of life" stories, many with a minor epiphany towards the end. Almost without exception, the protagonist harbors some sort of deep-seated resentment towards another character (embittered husbands abound in par...more
Renfield
Michael Chabon es de mis favoritos y puede que nos ea tan conocido en Colombia , pero es un genio. A cualquier persona que le gusten los comics o simplemente una buena historia ,deberia ser obligatorio que leyera LAS AVENTURAS DE CAVALIER & CLAY, o su increible novela negra EL SINDICATO DE LA POLICIA YIDDISH, por eso compre este libro sin parapadeo.

¿expectativas muy grandes?,siempre, pero la verdad esperaba muchisimo mas, siento que me quedarón debiendo. Yo amo a Tarantino pero su DEATH PROO...more
Ryan
I'm going to keep this short, considering I need to get some laundry done and I read this book about four months ago or something.

The guy is just very good at creating fiction that splits between the literary and the more-or-less popularly entertaining story. The measured voice of the narrator is the one constant, although the subjects of the stories being told varies a lot one to the next. I seem to remember stories touching on genre being blended with those that approach memoir - very much in...more
Colin N.
An excellent collection of short stories. This was my first read of Chabon and I thought the writing was quite good and his rendering of fragile relationships realistic. If something could be said to tie these stories together it is that the protagonist in each is a confused man (or boy) whose relationships are strained.

"Werewolves in their Youth" perfectly captures the alienation and isolation of awkward adolescence and the difficulties of a child in navigating social cliques and the dissoluti...more
Dennis D.
This is a breezy collection of short stories, and was a nice breather (for me) from a recent stream of 'doorstop' books. I like Michael Chabon based on the two novels of his I have read so far, Mysteries of Pittsburgh and The Wonder Boys, but also for his rep. He contributes to McSweeney’s from time to time, and he and I share a love of certain types of guy-friendly genre fiction (horror, sci-fi).

Despite the title, this is not a collection of werewolf tales, or even horror stories. There’s only...more
Katrina
Wishing for half stars again, so I could give this collection 4.5. It's not quite perfect--perhaps I'm too harsh a critic of short stories--but these nine tales are excellently crafted, with only a few minor flaws.

In the Black Mill was a bit disappointing, partly because dipping into the horror genre after reading Chabon's Maps and Legends essays felt like such a long-awaited treat. For the most part, it was worth the wait. The language and tone were nearly pitch-perfect, and the conclusion was...more
Tung
This is my third Chabon work and my second Chabon short story collection of the year. The book takes its title from the title of its first short stories, although there is no coherent theme that runs across these nine stories. Overall, I found it similar to the other short story collection (A Model World) – moments of brilliance brought down by moments of mediocrity. Out of these nine stories, I would classify two as amazing (“Werewolves in their Youth” and “Son of the Wolfman” which is the best...more
Stephanie
"Werewolves in Their Youth" is tricky – in a good way. In his stories, Chabon has a way of confusing you but making you want to read them again. I love how truly creative he is, I have never read anything like these stories. My favorite had to be the title story. I absolutely love Paul and Timothy. They were complete kids. Many stories you read out there tend to add action or dialogue that make you question ages but Chabon got them pitch perfect. Between Paul’s ant empire and Timothy’s constant...more
Christey Foster
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
jeremy
the second of chabon's short story collections, werewolves in their youth brings together nine disparate tales characterized by gorgeous prose and a style unconstrained by genre. nearly half of these stories are set in the pacific northwest and range in plot from midlife malaise and domestic discord to bizarre ritual and outright horror(!). themes and elements familiar to readers of chabon's other works are to be found throughout. while chabon's storytelling skills are of a high caliber, his wri...more
Cat
I love Michael Chabon, but I felt like this was a profoundly uneven collection that left something to be desired in terms of thematic variation and character complexity, even if it contained Chabon's trademark wit and pyrotechnical sentences. Many of the stories in this volume seemed to be working through the same type of relationship (namely, the married couple who suddenly realize [or, more aptly, finally acknowledge] that their union was an ill-judged one), which becomes a little stale. The o...more
Steven
I loved the title story—what a great opening paragraph. And so many great details from the childhood perspective. “The Harris Fetko Story” really stuck in my mind, again I think it is because of the unique details, details only the character would notice, and notice in just that way. On the other hand, several of these stories are thin on events, seem to take up most of their space with long paragraphs of background information about the characters. Well written background, but the character bio...more
Matt
I like the way Chabon writes, but didn't care about most of his characters in this collection, which made it hard to read in places. I'll award bonus points for "Werewolves in Their Youth," "Spikes," (maybe "Son of the Wolfman" should be included here, too; I still can't decide how I feel about it), and definite highlights were "In the Black Mill," and Chabon's knack for the occasional perfect phrase, but I wished far too many characters would just die and be gone for such a short collection. Of...more
Lindsay
A collection of short stories, "Werewolves in Their Youth" is pretty good. I liked it a lot. There were a bunch of stories in here that felt kind of daring because of their darker subject matter.
I remember reading an interview where Chabon expressed his apprehension about publishing "Green's Book." After "Kavalier and Clay," people assumed he was a homosexual because one of his characters was one. Would people assume that he was a pedophile or child molester because of "Green's Book"? While "Gr...more
Shinynickel
I've read some of his essays and loved them, but this was my first exposure to his fiction.

I think many of the stories were firmly in the non-genre category - failed or failing marriages are the topic of most. Some of them, the title story in particular, were pleasant, but didn't grab me.

I did enjoy the last story in the book, "In the Black Mill", which was an H.P. Lovecraft pastiche. Chabon's prose gleefully engages with with some of the stalest cliches of the genre and reimages them. A frame...more
Jason
This collection of stories is a little uneven, and a little bit too slanted in the direction of failed/failing marriages for me to fall completely in love with it. By the time we're nearing the end (which concludes, wonderfully, with a Lovecraftian horror story), I was ready for something new. Okay, something new came, but it was a little bit late.

This being said, Chabon is a brilliant writer. His command of the language elevates these stories from their interesting premises into something almos...more
Lauren
Typical of most short story collections I read, I found Michael Chabon's Werewolves in Their Youth slightly uneven and oddly paced, yet full of emotion and very well written. The characters are nicely flushed out and each short story closes on a very strong note. Actually, my favorite parts of the collection were the last lines of each story, full of wit and capturing the tone and feel of the respective story. Although the plot varies from story to story, the one overlying theme to the collectio...more
Jenny
Halfway through this book I knew that Michael Chabon writes the best horror. These are not the scary stories that keep you from sleeping because of shadows and monsters. They are the stories that make you worry about the world, and confirm just how difficult it is to navigate.

More than once I had to close the book after a story in order to mutter expletives. The writing is just that good.

I have read two novels by Mr. Chabon, but these short stories are another beast. Each one is so meticulously...more
Bonnie
A couple of the stories fell flat for me, but the remainder more than made up for it. The final story is, kind of out of nowhere, a horror story that is perhaps slightly more spare than it could be, but it's satisfying, if a little predictable.

I could have happily done without the story about Harris Fetko.
Anulman
I just finished this a week or two ago, after picking it up sporadically over the course of about 3 months. It was mostly bedtime snacking, so pardon the underdeveloped opinions...

Anyway, the only story that really sticks with me is "House Hunting," and I'm not even sure if that's because it was great or for some other reason. Everything he wrote was highly capable and highlighted Chabon's unique voice and literary presence... they just seemed kind of unpolished, especially compared to his other...more
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Michael Chabon (b. 1963) is an acclaimed and bestselling author whose works include the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000). Chabon achieved literary fame at age twenty-four with his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988), which was a major critical and commercial success. He then published Wonder Boys (1995), another bestseller, which was mad...more
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“Although sex was something they both regarded as perilous, marriage had, by contrast, seemed safe– a safe house in a world of danger; the ultimate haven of two solitary, fearful souls. When you were single, this was what everyone who was already married was always telling you. Daniel himself had said it to his unmarried friends. It was, however, a lie. Sex had everything to do with violence, that was true, and marriage was at once a container for the madness between men and women and a fragile hedge against it, as religion was to death, and the laws of physics to the immense quantity of utter emptiness of which the universe was made. But there was nothing at all safe about marriage. It was a doubtful enterprise, a voyage in an untested craft, across a hostile ocean, with a map that was a forgery and with no particular destination but the grave.” 15 likes
“I HAD known him as a bulldozer, as a samurai, as an android programmed to kill, as Plastic Man and Titanium Man and Matter-Eater Lad, as a Buick Electra, as a Peterbilt truck, and even, for a week, as the Mackinac Bridge, but it was as a werewolf that Timothy Stokes finally went too far.” 5 likes
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