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Die Geheimnisse von Pittsburgh (1988)

von Michael Chabon

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
3,805612,484 (3.56)87
Michael Chabon masterfully renders the funny, tender, and captivating first-person narrative of Art Bechstein, whose confusion and heartache echo the tones of literary forebears like The Catcher in the Rye's Holden Caulfield and The Great Gatsby's Nick Carraway. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh incontrovertibly established Chabon as a powerful force in contemporary fiction, even before his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay set the literary world spinning. An unforgettable story of coming of age in America, it is also an essential milestone in the movement of American fiction, from a novelist who has become one of the most important and enduring voices of this generation.… (mehr)
  1. 50
    Der große Gatsby von F. Scott Fitzgerald (zhejw)
    zhejw: The Great Gatsby also takes place over the course of one summer after the protagonist graduates from college. Chabon has acknowledged it as one of the influences for his book.
  2. 10
    Der Buddha aus der Vorstadt von Hanif Kureishi (brianjungwi)
  3. 10
    Werewolves in Their Youth von Michael Chabon (Patangel)
    Patangel: La même humanité transparait dans ces deux ouvrages du même auteur.
  4. 00
    Unterwegs von Jack Kerouac (CGlanovsky)
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I'll be generous.

This book did not capture me. The writing felt amateur in ways that stunned me. I remember feeling lost in Kavalier and Clay, floating on wave after wave of blindingly gorgeous sentences, paragraphs, so complex and bold that you couldn't help but feel an awesome seasickness. Here, though, the writing is just plain old insecure. Chabon plays it like a coward, and Art sounds like a boring crybaby who we end up not liking that much because, well, he can't write fo shit.

Not that the characters were really that good, either. Art basically said that Phlox was fake, with her lack of humor and her pretend mannerisms and her constant attempts to change the way she presented herself to the world. What he neglected to tell us was that everyone else in the book was fake in their own special ways, too. And if not fake, then at least too much stock character and not enough larger-than-life-ness. I despised Cleveland and thought he was unlikable the way Hitler is unlikable. Art's father felt more like a set piece/deus ex machina than a person. And Arthur was just not really someone we got to deeply know, I feel, unless you count his homosexuality as profound facet #1 of his personality.

That's not to say that the writing was abysmal. It wasn't. It was bad for Michael Chabon, good when compared to other human beings. I was interested in Art's life, which is good. The last couple of pages were cool. Parallel to Gatsby tickled my heart a bit. I'm torn between 2 and 3, because I actually read this book with interest, even though I don't think it's great. "It was okay," I'd say, which is 2-star... and this is Michael Chabon, so comeonnnnnn. Yknow he could've done something better than this. ( )
  Gadi_Cohen | Sep 22, 2021 |
Less absorbing than the other Chabon books I've read, but still an enjoyable read. Gatsby-ish. ( )
  misslevel | Sep 22, 2021 |
When you catch yourself in skipping paragraphs because they are just utterly boring and don’t do anything to the story and the story itself is just this very thin ribbon that is almost not there then you realize that this book is not for you.

I just didn’t like it. It had some good moments and the writing itself was solid but I could not attach to any of the characters and didn’t care about them not where they go.

Whenever something interesting happened that might be interesting it was just cut short.

Not recommended. ( )
  gullevek | Dec 15, 2020 |
Might I just say that over the last few days I’ve found it intensely irritating when anything has come between this book and me. Suckered in from the opening sentences:


At the beginning of the summer I had lunch with my father, the gangster, who was in town for the weekend to transact some of his vague business. We’d just come to the end of a period of silence and ill will – a year I’d spent in love with and in the same apartment as an odd, fragile girl whom he had loathed, on sight, with a frankness and a fury that were not at all like him. But Claire had moved out the month before. Neither my father nor I knew what to do with our new freedom.


How could I put it down after that? I'd even fall asleep with it in my hand.

He wrote this at age twenty-three, which quite astonishes me. It has a clever-but-never-smart-arsed-never-jarring technical excellence that leaves me rereading again and again as I go along. After two others of his, I assumed he worked bloody hard at this, but 23 years old? Maybe he was just born that way. Or both. I’d bet my last dollar he works hard, really hard, that every word is polished and scrutinised before being left on the page. I hope this doesn’t make it sound cold. This is an author who loves every one of his characters and therefore we cannot but love them too.

A booky extract for goodreaders:


I’d wanted to work in a true, old-fashioned bookshop, crammed with the mingled smells of literature and Pittsburgh blowing in through the open door. Instead I’d got myself hired by Boardwalk Books.

Boardwalk, a chain, sold books at low prices, in huge, flourescent, supermarket style, a style perfaced by glumness and by an uncomprehending distaste for its low-profit merchandise. The store, with its long white aisles and megalithic piles of discount thrillers and exercise guides, was organised as though the management had hoped to sell luncheon meat or lawn care products, but had somehow been tricked by an unscrupulous wholesaler – I imagined the disappointed ‘what the hell are we going to do with all these damned books?’ of the owners who had started in postcards and seaside souvenirs on the Jersey shore. As far as they were concerned, a good book was still a plump little paperback that knew how to sit in a beach-bag and keep its dirty mouth shut.

‘Literature’ was squeezed into a miniature and otherwise useless alcove between War and Home Improvement, and of all the employees, several of whom were fat and wanted to be paramedics, I was the only one who found irregularity in the fact that Boardwalk sold the Monarch notes to such works as Tristram Shandy, that it did not actually stock. I was to spend the daytime summer stunned by air-conditioning, almost without a thought in my head, waiting for the engagement of evening. Summer would happen after dinner. The job had no claim upon me.


What else can I say? Oh yes. It has a character called Manny in it, thus possibly confirming Paul’s suspicions about how many of them there are. No amount of pleading, bribery or threats will make me say more on this matter, you’ll just have to buy the book.
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Might I just say that over the last few days I’ve found it intensely irritating when anything has come between this book and me. Suckered in from the opening sentences:


At the beginning of the summer I had lunch with my father, the gangster, who was in town for the weekend to transact some of his vague business. We’d just come to the end of a period of silence and ill will – a year I’d spent in love with and in the same apartment as an odd, fragile girl whom he had loathed, on sight, with a frankness and a fury that were not at all like him. But Claire had moved out the month before. Neither my father nor I knew what to do with our new freedom.


How could I put it down after that? I'd even fall asleep with it in my hand.

He wrote this at age twenty-three, which quite astonishes me. It has a clever-but-never-smart-arsed-never-jarring technical excellence that leaves me rereading again and again as I go along. After two others of his, I assumed he worked bloody hard at this, but 23 years old? Maybe he was just born that way. Or both. I’d bet my last dollar he works hard, really hard, that every word is polished and scrutinised before being left on the page. I hope this doesn’t make it sound cold. This is an author who loves every one of his characters and therefore we cannot but love them too.

A booky extract for goodreaders:


I’d wanted to work in a true, old-fashioned bookshop, crammed with the mingled smells of literature and Pittsburgh blowing in through the open door. Instead I’d got myself hired by Boardwalk Books.

Boardwalk, a chain, sold books at low prices, in huge, flourescent, supermarket style, a style perfaced by glumness and by an uncomprehending distaste for its low-profit merchandise. The store, with its long white aisles and megalithic piles of discount thrillers and exercise guides, was organised as though the management had hoped to sell luncheon meat or lawn care products, but had somehow been tricked by an unscrupulous wholesaler – I imagined the disappointed ‘what the hell are we going to do with all these damned books?’ of the owners who had started in postcards and seaside souvenirs on the Jersey shore. As far as they were concerned, a good book was still a plump little paperback that knew how to sit in a beach-bag and keep its dirty mouth shut.

‘Literature’ was squeezed into a miniature and otherwise useless alcove between War and Home Improvement, and of all the employees, several of whom were fat and wanted to be paramedics, I was the only one who found irregularity in the fact that Boardwalk sold the Monarch notes to such works as Tristram Shandy, that it did not actually stock. I was to spend the daytime summer stunned by air-conditioning, almost without a thought in my head, waiting for the engagement of evening. Summer would happen after dinner. The job had no claim upon me.


What else can I say? Oh yes. It has a character called Manny in it, thus possibly confirming Paul’s suspicions about how many of them there are. No amount of pleading, bribery or threats will make me say more on this matter, you’ll just have to buy the book.
( )
  bringbackbooks | Jun 16, 2020 |
Chabon’s talent bursts from the pages. For instance, he is very good at describing inebriation: “I had drunk very much very quickly,” Art, the narrator tells us, “and wasn’t following the action of the film too well. Everything seemed impossibly fast and noisy.” There are intriguing jokes: “I admit I have an ugly fondness for generalisations, so perhaps I may be forgiven when I declare that there is always something weird about a girl that majors in French.” And there are some excellent character portraits, such as that of Jane, who is introduced to readers thwacking golf balls across the neighbourhood at a house party, smelling “interestingly of light exertion, beer, perfume and cut grass”.
hinzugefügt von danielx | bearbeitenThe Guardian, Sam Jordison (Aug 15, 2017)
 

"Cleveland and I drank until the bar closed. It was a hot night, and the ceiling fans ruffled our hair and tore the cigarette smoke into little scraps. Each bottle of Rolling Rock came to us pearled with condensation," remembers Art, about to recall the occasion when Cleveland started reciting Frank O'Hara. "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" has hundreds of such moments, effortless, golden, reminding us that Chabon always had the capacity to amaze; he was, and is, the wonder boy.
hinzugefügt von danielx | bearbeitenLos Angeles Times, Richard Rayner (Nov 9, 2008)
 
there is much to admire here, and what the novel lacks in insight it compensates for in language, wit and ambition, in the sheer exuberance of its voice: the voice of a young writer with tremendous skill as he discovers, joyously, just what his words can do.
hinzugefügt von danielx | bearbeitenNew York Times, Alice McDermott (Aug 3, 1988)
 
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At the beginning of the summer I had lunch with my father, the gangster, who was in town for the weekend to transact some of his vague business.
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Michael Chabon masterfully renders the funny, tender, and captivating first-person narrative of Art Bechstein, whose confusion and heartache echo the tones of literary forebears like The Catcher in the Rye's Holden Caulfield and The Great Gatsby's Nick Carraway. The Mysteries of Pittsburgh incontrovertibly established Chabon as a powerful force in contemporary fiction, even before his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay set the literary world spinning. An unforgettable story of coming of age in America, it is also an essential milestone in the movement of American fiction, from a novelist who has become one of the most important and enduring voices of this generation.

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Durchschnitt: (3.56)
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