"He's writing his
name in water...It was the half-regretful term --- borrowed from
the headstone of John Keats --- that Crabtree used to describe his
own and others' failures to express a literary gift through any
actual writing on paper. Some of them, he said, just told lies;
others wove plots out of the gnarls and elf knots of their lives
and then followed them through to resolution."
Like movies about the people who make movies, books about the
writing of books shouldn't really succeed. However, WONDER BOYS
does with flying colors. And Hollywood clearly has no ideas of its
own, because every book ever published is being made into a film.
With its recent opening as a Michael Douglas-starring flick of the
same name, those crazy dreammakers on the West Coast have really
picked a winner. Michael Chabon's wonderful WONDER BOYS is a book
chock full of eccentric humor, an actual plot, vivid and hilarious
characters, and a touching and heartfelt paean to the artist who
chooses to live in the real world along with the rest of us. WONDER
BOYS will surely be a good film, but it is a truly wondrous and
Professor Grady Tripp has spent seven years trying to write the
follow-up to his enormously successful first novel. "Wonder Boys"
is now over two thousand pages long with no end in sight. Add to
this an eccentric gay agent who comes to visit with drag queen in
tow; a wife who has left; a mistress who is pregnant (and the
chancellor of the college where Grady teaches); a suicidal but
artistically promising young protege; a dead dog; and the winsome
girl-next-door who shares Grady's house, and you have a
hallucinogenic tome that employs both comedic and dramatic tones in
the best possible ways.
The action takes place over the course of a single weekend, and
Chabon is smart in keeping the time