This novel is so close to my heart. Besides the fact that it’s a book by Michael Chabon, an author I’ve been obsessed with these past few years, its story also focuses on a writer who, for seven years, has been trying to finish his latest novel.
I have to admit, though, that this protagonist can be really annoying at times. Known as Grady Tripp, this writer teaches at the university whose chancellor is actually his mistress. He occasionally flirts with a female student as well.
It can be said that he still adores and cares for his wife, but he somehow can’t stop doing stupid things. In fact, he ends up impregnating his mistress (and oh, this woman has been married to another colleague from the same university). He’s stoned and/or drunk most of the time, too.
However, there is something that makes him appealing, despite all his unlovable qualities as a human being and as a man. One of them, I think, is his fighting spirit as a writer and an artist. No matter how shitty things have been for him, he’s still so keen on finishing his work.
I also like how beautiful his friendship with Terry Crabtree is. Sure, the guy is as fucked up as he is, and their relationship isn’t perfect, but what they have is really admirable.
Most importantly, Grady’s character reminds me that no matter how difficult it is to produce art amid all the crazy things that are happening in the world and in our personal lives, we should keep trying.
There will be tough times, of course. Sometimes, we even have to just let go and start anew. But, we have to go on. For me, a young writer who’s struggling to produce something that could be worth other people’s time, this kind of hope means a lot.
Finally, I can’t miss the fact that it also tells a lot about how fun a writer’s life can be, especially when you spend it with other writers who are equally as crazy. I’m sure, anyone who’s been a part of a writing program or a community of writers can relate to this book.