Wednesday, January 9

Wonder Man

Recently read Straight Man by Richard Russo and Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon. Both are written in the first person with a creative writing professor as protagonist. Both books follow the protagonist for a few days as his life falls apart. Both are set in Pennsylvania. In both books an act of animal abuse sparks the plot (Chabon kills a dog, Russo strangles a goose). Other common plot elements: marital stress, black outs, writer's block, quirky in-laws. Both end (spoiler ahead) with the protagonist's life being put back together rather too neatly.

I didn't mind. I read Straight Man first and enjoyed it so much (it is hilarious) that I wanted to read it again straight away (but for the first time). And, by reading Wonder Boys, I was able to satisfy this paradoxical urge.

The biggest difference is in tone. Russo's narrator is a smart arse and shit stirrer. The book is played for yucks from the get go. Chabon's narrator is more passive (but Wonder Boys is still very funny). Tough to say which is the better book. Maybe Chabon should win a tie breaker for being first.


Blogger Steve Peterson said...

I noticed the blog is having trouble with the danmusic.gif header -- probably because Nicholas hosting site might be having issues.

Blogger now has a pretty simple system for going in and uploading your own header, so that might solve the issue.

I've been trying to figure out what graphic I'd like to put up there on my blog -- maybe steal some of Jaru's artwork and make a collage.

1:47 PM  

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