Chabon Reviews McCarthy’s The Road

The New York Review of Books recently published an article by Michael Chabon analyzing Cormac McCarthy’s novel The Road. Here’s a sample (and possibly a sentence that rivals Melville in length):

All the elements of a science fiction novel of the post-apocalypse are present or at least hinted at, then, in The Road: the urgent naturalism of McCarthy’s description of torched woodland, desiccated human remains, decaying structures, human and natural violence; the ambivalence toward technology embodied in the destructive-redemptive role of fire; the faint inventive echoes of works like Roger Zelazny’s Damnation Alley and the Mad Max movies in McCarthy’s “bloodcults,” roving gangs of tattooed barbarian cannibals driven by lust and hunger and surviving bits of diesel-powered machinery; and the strong invitation to pardon the exercise as a fable extended by the namelessness of characters and locales, by the vague nature of the disaster that has befallen the world, by the presence of at least one semi-allegorical character and the usual, inevitable (in McCarthy’s work generally and the genre as a whole) speculation on the presence or absence of God.

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Chabon’s ‘Gentlemen of the Road’ Debuts Sunday

The first installment of Michael Chabon’s 16-part fiction serial Gentlemen of the Road will debut in The New York Times Magazine this Sunday.

Previously known under the working title “Jews with Swords,” the action serial takes place in the kingdom of Arran around 950 A.D., situated in the Caucasus Mountains between the Black and Caspian seas. The story is basted on historical research into a little known era in the Middle Ages, according to The New York Times Company.

At The New York Times’ Web site, fans can also listen to a podcast of Chabon reading the first chapter. He will also participate in an online Q & A session.

The serial can be found in the “Funny Pages” section of the magazine.

Leaked Pittsburgh Script Gets Bad Review

Uh oh. Looks like the film adaptation of Mysteries of Pittsburgh may, well, not be all that good, according to a review by Mark Cardwell posted at film ick.

“Basically, this script may well end up as a decent enough movie,” Cardwell writes. “At this point, with my ire up, I’m having problems telling. But that movie will only really take Chabon’s novel as a point of departure. As an exercise in adaptation, it strikes me as similarly irritating, baffling, as adapting The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by slashing out all the comic book stuff, and choosing to make it a war movie set in the Antarctic, or choosing to adapt Summerland by removing all the mythological references and making it into a movie about baseball.”

Head over to film ick for the rest of the review.

Waldman on NPR

Ayelet Waldman was featured Tuesday on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” In the 3 minute, 49 second clip, Waldman discusses child health issues.

U.S. Cover for Yiddish Policemen Online

A small image of the cover for the U.S. edition of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union has found its way online.

Steven Barclay Agency, which books Michael Chabon’s speaking engagements, posted a thumbnail of the cover on its Web site. Asked if it had a larger version, the agency said it couldn’t provide one since it didn’t have the right to distribute it further.

The cover appears to feature Alaska Native art, fitting with the story’s plot line of a Yiddish homeland in Alaska. The cover also features a city with tall buildings.

The U.S. edition differs significantly from the UK edition, which featured a police car.