A Review of Michael Chabon’s “Wonder Boys”
Published in 1995, Michael Chabon’s second novel tells the story of Grady Tripp, a once successful novelist who has been unable after seven years to finish a sprawling, incoherent mess of a novel called “Wonder Boys.” The story takes place during a manic weekend when Grady–an inveterate pot-head and adulterer–is deserted by his wife, told by his lover (the chancellor of the university where he works) that she’s pregnant and is visited by his eccentric, libidinous friend and editor who expects Grady to deliver the manuscript of “Wonder Boys,” for which he’s already been paid. Throw in a couple of Grady’s students, one of whom is falling in love with Grady and the other who involves Grady in a burlary, and mix it all up with Chabon’s incredible inventiveness and fresh, lyrical prose and great humor, and I found this novel hard to put down. No surprise that Chabon’s next novel–“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay”–won a Pulizer. This one would have been a five star for me if I hadn’t felt at times like the story’s world was a bit too self-rerferential and literary.