Jake's Reviews > The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon
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Mar 06, 07

bookshelves: books-for-drummey
Recommended for: Anyone feeling nostalgic for college or feeling anxious about leaving.
Read in February, 2007

This book is incredibly evocative of the time right after college graduation - I just graduated in May of last year, and it still hits me now when I read it nine months later.

While the writing leaves a little to be desired, and some of the scenes are over the top, most readers would probably just write it off as an expected issue with an author's first novel. Some might argue that no real person talks like these characters do. To be perfectly honest, I know too many people who talk like this. Furthermore, the characters are so artfully described and the feelings of summer so well drawn that the minor weaknesses of the novel become just that - minor.

The story revolves around Art Bechstein and his exploration of his own personality, dreams, and desires as he meets four new friends in the summer after college graduation in Pittsburgh circa 1983 or so. I refuse to discuss the plot in my review, but know that the sexual nature of the story isn't for all. However, if the topic isn't one that would produce discomfort, by all means, read this novel.

And just to add a tip - two songs are amazing sidekicks to reading this novel (a feat I accomplished in about four days, it being such a quick read, a compelling story, and my having so much time on the Metro). Youth Group's "Daisychains" and Death Cab for Cutie's "A Lack of Color" both accompany the novel perfectly. I would highly recommend both.

Overall, the novel is quite good and reads incredibly quickly. I would highly recommend reading the novel first, however, if you have any inclination to see the film adaptation (with Mena Suvari, Peter Sarsgaard, Jon Foster, and Sienna Miller). The characters are likable, for the most part, but still have glaring flaws, and that, ultimately, is what makes them appear so real.
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