Wednesday, May 02, 2007

LA Times portrait of Chabon

The idea hit Michael Chabon right in the kishkes - Los Angeles Times - "With his combination of literary seriousness (long, heavily researched novels), fruitful relationship to ethnic identity (Jewish) and ability to mine pop genres (science fiction, comic books), Berkeley resident Michael Chabon may have the highest capital of any West Coast writer.

He may be the only novelist in history to write for both the New York Review of Books — where he recently had a ravishing essay on Cormac McCarthy and apocalypse fiction — and Details (where his latest contribution concerned "the man purse").

Throw in leonine good looks that he often finds embarrassing and he can seem like the Prom King of American letters.

So it's refreshing to see that Chabon, he of the sharp cheekbones and shimmering sentences, doesn't spend all his time walking on water.

After dinner on a cool, clear recent night at his brown shingle house, Chabon sat at the kitchen table talking about his novel's origins while his wife, Ayelet Waldman, also a writer and as playfully brassy as her husband is earnestly soft-spoken, was washing dishes.

Suddenly, screams from upstairs. One of his four kids has locked himself in the bathroom. "Put your iPod on!" Chabon yelled to his daughter, who seemed to be somehow involved. Loud crash. Chabon, who is built like a ballet dancer, with long limbs and a thick chest, took off upstairs.

"Welcome to my life!" Waldman yelled.


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