Chabon Discusses Current Reading

Newark Star-Ledger caught up with Chabon and asked him what he is reading right now.

Among the books: Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” “Persuasion,” and “Emma,” part of an Austen kick Chabon’s been on lately.

“I love Austen’s tone,” he says. “It’s all about the tone and the point of view. I go over her paragraphs endlessly, to see how she manages to convey the amount of contempt you are supposed to feel for a character, or the respect you are sup posed to feel for a character, and the way that she modulates contempt and respect in the same paragraph. There is great pleasure in reading her books.”

Chabon says he also recently re-read “The Charterhouse of Parma” by Stendhal.

“I love the way that he is addressing his French readers and trying to make these Italian characters comprehensible, when he is actually mocking his French readers,” Chabon says. “I was close to Fabrizio’s age when I read it. I was 18. I think I missed a lot of Fabrizio’s ironic detachment as an older man looking back at his youth. I just admired his adventurous spirit. The fact that he was kind of an idiot was lost on me then.”

Chabon also says he recently read “The Death of the Detective” by Mark Smith, which Chabon says it one of Jonathan Lethem’s favorite books.

“The novel is set in the Chicago underworld with a detective investigating a murder,” Chabon says. “It’s a huge 1970s novel, from the era of Pyn chon and Gaddis.”

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