by Michael Chabon ‧ RELEASE DATE: Feb. 1, 1999
A mixed second collection of nine stories by novelist Chabon (A Model World, 1991; Wonder Boys, 1995, etc.), mostly set in the Pacific Northwest. Domestic life has been the dominant subject of literary stories for many years, and the variations on it seem to be pretty well played out by now. Most of the characters in Chabon's tales are afflicted family men and women trying without apparent success to repair their failing relations with spouses or children. ""Son of the Wolfman,"" for example, describes the stress placed upon an already-teetering marriage when the childless wife becomes pregnant as a result of rape and decides to keep the baby. ""The Harris Fetko Story"" portrays the tensions separating a professional football player from his remarried father. In ""Spikes,"" a husband reluctantly participates in the divorce proceedings initiated by his wife, while ""Mrs. Box"" tells how a bankrupt optometrist fails in his attempt to rob his ex-wife's senile mother and is robbed himself in the process. Some of the pieces move uncomfortably to the edges of surrealism, where they're carried too far: ""House Hunting,"" for example (an unhappy young married couple copulate in the bedroom of a house shown to them by a demented real estate agent), and the title story (revealing what happens when two boys' fantasies of becoming werewolves are carried too far). Pretty thin gruel: Chabon is a stylist (""Bob Hogue was a leathery man of indefinite middle age, wearing a green polo shirt, tan chinos, and a madras blazer in the palette favored by the manufacturers of the cellophane grass that goes into Easter baskets"") whose finely crafted sentences unfortunately don't add up to very interesting narratives.
Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1999
Page Count: 224
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1998
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