Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon's latest novel is Telegraph Avenue.

From his Q & A with Irene Lacher at the Los Angeles Times:

I know that you always strive to entertain. Do you think "entertainment" has become a dirty word among purveyors of high culture?

Sure, and with good reason, in the sense that most of what gets labeled "entertainment" is really terrible. We get the entertainment we deserve. To me, being entertained is having your mind engaged with the work of art on multiple levels. So I think a lot of what gets passed off as entertainment really does not qualify for that definition. It's merely diverting at most.

To be entertained by something is in turn to entertain it, like you entertain ideas, a kind of mutuality there that I think is part of my definition of "entertainment," that you're giving back to the work at the same time the work is giving to you.

Another book that I just loved is the last in Edward St. Aubyn's Patrick Melrose novels sequence ["At Last"]. They conveniently published the first four in one volume in paperback and then the fifth one, so I was able to read them all from the start to the finish, which is how I think they ought to be read. It was just one of the most amazing reading experiences I've had in a decade.

The sequence begins when the protagonist, Patrick Melrose, is about 5 years old and continues up to the present day when he's well into his mid-40s. After all the suffering and torment and despair that Patrick Melrose has been through over the years, [Aubyn] leaves him in a very interesting place, and he does it all with his incredible examination of the sweep of time and the way our understanding of people changes over decades. All of that is done with this incredible, biting, witty, hilarious prose style, the elegant, classic English sentences that he writes and these amazing put-downs, and he's great at...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue