Michael Chabon (born May 24, 1963) is an American writer of both literary
and genre fiction. He has achieved the unprecedented goal of appealing to both literary snobs who despise genre fiction, and genre fiction snobs who despise the literati. Sometimes even at the same time. He has won both a Pulitzer Prize
for Literature, and a Hugo Award
for best Science Fiction
Novel of the Year.
Most of his books are, in part, about Judaism or Jewish people. He has written Fantasy, Mystery, and Alternate History — and even when he isn't writing genre fiction, he often writes about it.
He also worked on the screenplays for Spider-Man 2, John Carter and the Star Trek: Discovery Short Treks episode "Calypso". He was the showrunner during Season 1 of Star Trek: Picard.
Works by Michael Chabon include:
- The Mysteries of Pittsburgh - A Coming of Age novel that explored a bisexual Love Triangle.
- Wonder Boys - Made into a movie starring Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire. The screenplay was nominated for an Academy Award.
- The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay - Winner of the Pulitzer Prize. This was not, technically, a genre novel, but it was about The Golden Age of Comic Books, about as geeky a subject as one could want.
- Summerland - Best-selling YA fantasy novel about kids saving the world by playing baseball.
- The Final Solution - A mystery novella starring an unnamed elderly detective who might be (read: obviously is) Sherlock Holmes.
- The Yiddish Policemen's Union - An Alternate History noir novel set in Alaska. Winner of the Hugo Award.
- Gentlemen of the Road - A more traditional adventure novel. Chabon himself dubbed it "Jews with swords."
- Manhood for Amateurs - A collection of autobiographical essays.
- The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man - A children's book about the titular superhero (yes, really).
- Telegraph Avenue - A novel about record-store owners in north Oakland, threatened by a megastore.
- Moonglow - A semi-fictionalized memoir of Chabon's dying grandfather, a World War II veteran, engineer and rocket enthusiast.
- Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces - Chabon's third book of essays.
Works by Michael Chabon with pages on this Wiki:
Other works by Michael Chabon contain examples of:
- All Jews Are Ashkenazi: Ashkenazi Jews appear in most of his works, although they are not the only ones. In fact, there is a running theme that the non-Ashkenazim characters are usually more faithfully observant:
- He set out to turn this trope on its head with Gentlemen of the Road, which prominently features an Abyssinian Jew and the Khazars, a kingdom of Turkic Jews. It does, however, feature an Ashkenazi Jew who is very far from home.
- The Yiddish Policemen's Union is a notable straight example, envisioning an alternate universe in which Israel was a non-starter and instead a Jewish free state was formed by Ashkenazi Jews in Alaska. Even they are balanced by Berko Shemets, who is a half-Tligit (Alaskan native) convert and one of the most religious characters in the novel.
- In Wonder Boys, the Warshaw family has three children adopted from Korea, all of whom are relatively observant Jews.
- Author Appeal:
- This is likely the reason he writes so much "low-brow" genre fiction; he likes to write in genres that he genuinely enjoys reading.
- Aside from that, Chabon (who is Jewish) loves Jewish history and culture. It figures prominently in most of his books.