Michael Chabon’s latest book, Telegraph Avenue, is sitting in the queue on my desk alongside a half dozen other books. Its release date unfortunately coincided with the release of Junot Diaz’s newest book, and for no particularly reason (though Chabon’s novel was longer), I began reading This Is How You Lose Her first.
In a well timed bit of publicity, New York Magazine sent a writer up to Maine to deal with Chabon and his new novel. The extensive interview and feature story discusses Chabon’s penchant for creating nice characters and his aversion to the sort of evil characters that usually drive the plot of novels. The big reveal is that President Obama, then a Senator, makes an appearance in Telegraph Avenue. Or the big reveal is that Chabon and his wife, novelist Ayelet Waldman, really like being rich people with a house in Berkeley and one in Maine. The two have adjoining offices, attached at the middle by a bathroom “like a bowtie.” This cute little image of husband and wife team leaves me thinking of the description of Chabon’s novel: two business partners, their wives, and kids are all paired up in business and personal relationships that fall apart and come back together.
Of course, none of these characters are evil, except maybe Ayelet Waldman who ends up cursing off a slow moving truck halfway through the interview. The long and short of it, as far as NYMag is concerned, I should have been reading Chabon before Diaz. Or maybe it doesn’t matter, since I already paid for Telegraph Avenue.