Kraig Horton's Reviews > The Mysteries of Pittsburgh

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon
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M 50x66
's review
Apr 06, 2011

really liked it
Read in March, 2011

This is the second novel I have read from Michael Chabon, the first being Wonder Boys. Walking into Chabon’s first novel, “The Mysteries of Pittsburgh” which was written when we has 21. I was excited to see what it would be like!

I found myself once again caught by this authors irrevocably immense talent in creating a world of confusion and out of this world almost unbelievable happenings that angered and made me question the believability of the novel while at the same time drawing me into this spiraling incredibly real feeling story and bringing me along for the ride with deep, connecting, characters that jump off the page and directly into the readers heart.

He makes every action, choice and experience that happens; feel like it is happening to the reader. Pulling them into the novel from the start to the end.

What I found so enthralling about the novel is how it encompasses with ease the confusion, feelings, experiences and thoughts that we all go through. The main character Art Bechstein finishes college in Pittsburgh, and through the issues he faces: disagreeing with his Jewish mobster father, his identity confusion if he is bisexual and his journey to find who he is and where he wants to be in society. We are given a ride that though different from our own is very easy to relate to because at one time in our lives if not throughout most we all ask these type of questions and encounter conflicts that can through us deep into a hole that we have to struggle and struggle until we can climb out.

Everyone that graduates and then has to go out and find their place in the world can relate with these ideas. Being in that place myself throughout the novel I found that I was thinking and applying the story to an idea of what it would have been like for me. I know that every student when it comes time to graduate no matter if they know exactly what they want to do or still have no idea get this overwhelming feeling of either complete freedom, failure, horror or all three and beyond. This story encompasses these ideas and I believe that Chabon’s choice in this matter was extremely well done.
Besides a great plot and an enveloping story, Chabon has again showed even in his first novel, his ability to form language through expansive imagery, creative use in description and his ability to create these quirky, confused in-depth characters. With out all of these talents I believe this novel would have been pages filled with only chaos.

Over all I found this story to be about a summer after college and a step into the rest of a persons life and who they will become. I thought the novel was full of insight, covered a wide array of popular themes in writing and was a lot of fun to read and look forward to reading more of Chabon’s work.

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