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The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael…

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988)

by Michael Chabon

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,604542,161 (3.57)84
  1. 50
    The Great Gatsby by 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
    The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi (brianjungwi)
  3. 10
    Werewolves in Their Youth by Michael Chabon (Patangel)
    Patangel: La même humanité transparait dans ces deux ouvrages du même auteur.
  4. 00
    On the Road by Jack Kerouac (CGlanovsky)

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English (51)  French (1)  Hebrew (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (55)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
This is the story of Art Bechstein who is the son of a mobster. He lives in Pittsburgh, and just finished his studies at a local university. He doesn't know what he is going to do with his life, so he takes the summer to spend time with friends, get into trouble, and figure things out. He falls in love with a girl, then a guy, and in the end he is alone. Still no clearer to his path in life.

This book was just okay. I was anxious to read it because it was about Pittsburgh. I grew up in a small town right outside of Pittsburgh and went to college there myself. It was neat to read about the places in this book. But beyond that - the story was rambling and a bit boring. Characters were really whiny and all over the place. I really had to concentrate to keep reading.

( )
  JenMat | Jan 10, 2019 |
Come for the evocative post-industrial collapse / pre-eds & meds Pittsburgh descriptions, but don't stay for the cardboard characters or meandering final third. ( )
  wordsampersand | Dec 6, 2018 |
Like all of my favorite lit books this one ends by not really ending. It's just another life chapter closed. This book had me going until the end though. The characters were semi-realistic and a bit flighty but that's ok ( )
  Vulco1 | Oct 12, 2018 |
It was interesting to read the first novel of Michael Chabon who I consider to be one of the best writers out there. His newest novel, Moonglow is one of favorite novels of recent years. From what I understand, the Mysteries of Pittsburgh was submitted as a final thesis for college and his advisor sent it to the publisher, which launched his career. My main complaint is not with the writing but just the simple notion that I didn't love the main character, Authur, who in the course of one summer meets three important people. One is another Art, whose rich, glamorous gay lifestyle lures our protagonist into at least bisexuality; and there is Phlox who is beautiful and also falls in love with Aurthur, and finally Cleveland, the rich kid turned badass who longs to impress Arthur's father, a local gangster. The novel , like Gatsby, takes place during a pivotal summer in the life of the narrator. Arthur has finished college and soon will be working in a business that his father has arranged for him. The writing is always wonderful but in this case I prefer not reading about Authur's sexual adventures and indecisions.

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.
Some good lines:
Because, hell, because I corrupted your youth. I don’t know. I took you out to the stockyard behind the family hot dog stand.

When I remember that dizzy summer, that dull, stupid, lovely, dire summer, it seems that in those days I ate my lunches, smelled another’s skin, noticed a shade of yellow, even simply sat, with greater lust and hopefulness—and that I lusted with greater faith, hoped with greater abandon. The people I loved were celebrities, surrounded by rumor and fanfare; the places I sat with them, movie lots and monuments. No doubt all of this is not true remembrance but the ruinous work of nostalgia, which obliterates the past, and no doubt, as usual, I have exaggerated everything. ( )
  novelcommentary | Sep 18, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this audiobook from LTER. I liked Kavalier and Clay and expected to like this too. But I didn’t. I just didn’t get a feel for any of the characters. Nothing really happens. It’s just a brief post grad period in a guys life. Maybe I am too far removed from it all. I liked the writing, just not the storyline. ( )
  andrea58 | Sep 3, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
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”.
added by danielx | editThe 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.
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.
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We have shared it out like thieves
the amazing treasure of nights and days
To Lollie
First words
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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060790598, Paperback)

By the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

This P.S. edition features an extra 16 pages of insights into the book, including author interviews, recommended reading, and more.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:12:13 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Now reissued, Michael Chabon's "New York Times" bestselling first novel is a funny, tender coming-of-age novel that introduces readers to Art Bechstein, a Holden Caulfield for the post-Boomer/pre-Gen X-er generation. Chabon's first novel was universally lauded as the arrival of a rare and remarkable new literary talent who has proved to be one of our most profound and original writers.… (more)

» see all 2 descriptions

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