Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Ed Ass goes all fangirl

I have a sinking feeling I have rhapsodized to this effect before, but a very cursory inspection of my backlist has not immediately revealed the links, so.

As I might or might not have mentioned several times, I have a huge crush on Michael Chabon. I have spent certain some sleepless nights not being able to stop reading even though I was so tired I also failed to make any progress in the book. YIDDISH POLICEMEN, my first foray, literally restored my flagging hope in my industry (and perhaps the world in general). Although I was put off by KAVALIER & CLAY because of the length, when I finally did get around to reading it, I found myself actually reduced to tears about 40 pages from the end... because there were only 40 pages left. Even GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD, which, I think most people will agree, was pretty disappointing as a novel, was a darn pretty package to hold in my hand and gloat over.

Michael is special among modern novelists because, as he writes in his new essay collection, MAPS AND LEGENDS, (which I am now plowing through), he writes to entertain (and entertainment, he argues, should not be a dirty word). What is consistently most titillating for me is his language. From him I learn words like "exophthalmic" and am otherwise tickled by descriptions of common scenarios or places that are so shockingly on the nose you can't figure out why you haven't heard them before.

Momrat, who I did not expect to cotton onto Michael, put her thumb on his secret. I had bought my father YIDDISH POLICEMEN on CD for Christmas for him to listen to in the car, and my mother happened to be riding in the car with him when some random chapter like 19 was playing. "You know, I had no idea what was going on in the story," she told me. "But each sentence was like a little wonderful package of perfect words!" She has since bought the book and read it twice.

Anyway, the point is, tonight I TOUCHED Michael Chabon! Or perhaps I should say he touched me, since he offered me his hand. Yes, it was at a reading and I was in a queue of other star-struck nerds, but surely he remembered me among them! For example, how many of them babbled as incoherently as I did? How many others had a stack of books deep enough to give them carpal tunnel on their way up to the stage?

I am debating the whole thing about never washing my hand again. My psychological issue with it is germ-related, and alas, I'm a little neurotic. It's not that I would at ALL mind Michael's sweet germs, it's just that I can't possibly hold him accountable for the evil germs on any of the 314 hands he shook before mine.

Anyway. I will go off now to ponder my dilemma. Mmmmmmmmichael.


Charles Gramlich said...

a little package of perfect words is a great way to put it.

Lisa said...

You have hit on my one gigantic novelist crush too. I heart MC and I don't crush on famous people too much. I've never read anyone who can conjure up more interesting metaphors. I am so jealous!

jjdebenedictis said...

Dab sticky tape all over your hand to preserve the Michael-ness still clinging to it, then go wash.

You can frame the sticky tape and put it on your wall, too.

Precie said...


adding more stuff to my Amazon list...

writtenwyrdd said...

I also liked Momrat's "little package of perfect words". And you are a serious Chabon Fan Grrrl.

Did you know he has a web page at www.michaelchabon.com???

moonrat said...

yeah, the website is pretty "minimal" (as it self-advertises). check out, though The Amazing Website of Kavalier and Clay here:


It's unofficial but basically official.

Brian said...

I saw Chabon and his wife give a talk a few years ago. They tell a great story about how they met. Essentially, they were set up on a blind date. When his wife started telling people she was going on a date with Michael Chabon, the response was almost universally, "Michael Chabon? The novelist? He's gay." This because the majority of his published works at the time featured gay protagonists or themes so certain assumptions were being made.

So when they met, she looked him right in the eye and said, "Are you gay?" He rolled his eyes, threw back his head, and bellowed, "It's fiction!!"

I will read anything he puts out. He's that amazing.

Dan said...

Lurker kicks in with, Love me some Michael, but:

I picked up Wonder Boys at O'Hare's highly recommended bookstore, Barbara's Books at the crook of the foodcourt, for the usual layover. Wonder Boys is, at its heart, the classic Modern Literary Novel. It features an aging novelist (struggling to finish a novel called Wonder Boys), a young novelist, an editor, and One Damn Thing After Another in a Small College Town.

The book was still beautifully written, but, in my eyes, it left Michael Chabon a little diminished and a little more human. Sad state of affairs.

Sarah Hina said...

I'm swooning for you.


angelle said...

i suppose i should have gone with you. but i figured, well, michael chabon's not going anywhere. he'll write a new book soon, do another book reading, and next time i'll go.

ChrisEldin said...

I've never heard or read such a passionate review!
My Amazon list is also growing....

ChrisEldin said...

He has long, dark, wavy hair?!?!

Do you know how many of my fantasies start like that? Frickin Yum.

Don't wash your hand. But can you describe any lingering scents he may have left behind?

(party on my blog, if you're interested...)

ChrisEldin said...

I'm only Church Lady for today. Emergency circumstances require it.

Thanks for changing the link to my name!!

Lisa said...

Uh oh, Ayelet's gonna come after you now.

Linda said...

Momrat's right on - and I hope someday to shake the hand of the person who shook hands with the fabu Michael Chabon.

I am waiting for my name to pop up on the library's wait list for Yiddish, but finished K and C a couple of months ago and still reach for it when I'm seeking inspiration for my own writing.

Thanks for adding me to your blogroll - I feel pretty!

So cool... Peace, Linda

The Trouble With Roy said...

A. Thanks for linking to "The Best of Everything." I will link back asap and will let you know.

B. My mom just got a computer and any day now will start reading my stuff. So I sympathize.

C. Here's a link to a listing of unusual words I thought you and your readers might like:


My favorite: Obambulate ("to wander about.")