7 Reasons You Need to Read Michael Chabon’s New Book, ‘Moonglow’

December 3, 2016 5:00 am
Michael Chabon
(Ulf Andersen/Getty Images)
Michael Chabon's 'Moonglow'
Author Michael Chabon (Ulf Andersen/Getty Images)


You’re probably more familiar with the work of Michael Chabon than you think you are. If you happened upon the 2000 film Wonder Boys, starring Michael Douglas and Tobey Maguire, then you know his stuff. He’s the guy behind the novel of the same name.

But 2000 didn’t just mark Chabon’s coming-out party on the silver screen. That’s the year he also released what would become his Pulitzer Prize–winning novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

The tale of two young cousins, Joe and Sammy, who launch a comic-book empire in New York City, the novel is set against the backdrop of World War II and the horrors of Nazi Germany. (Joe’s a refugee who fled Prague and has left behind his parents and younger brother.)

If you can stick around for the 600-plus-page read, it’ll be one of the greatest literary experiences in your life. You’ll literally laugh, ugly-cry, and put the book down wondering why you’d waited so long to read it. Hell, you might even read it again.

Michael Chabon's Moonglow


Chabon has continued publishing pretty regularly since Kavalier & Clay. In fact, he has a new novel out. (It hit bookshelves on November 22.) Below, we’ve rounded up seven reasons why you should drop everything you’re doing and read Moonglow right now.


1. It’s Partly Based on a True Story

Back in 1989, Chabon visited his terminally ill grandfather in Oakland, California. The stories his grandfather told from his deathbed drained into Chabon’s latest novel.


2. It’s Kinda Sorta a Memoir (But It Actually Isn’t)

If that makes any sense. The main character in Moonglow is a man named “my grandfather,” who is telling his grandson a number of criss-crossing tales on his deathbed in—you guessed it—Oakland, California. In the book’s author’s note, Chabon says he’s taken “liberties with the truth with due abandon.”


3. It Features Lists and Footnotes

Now, we know you’re probably groaning. If you’re like us, the last time you tried to crack a David Foster Wallace novel and hit the first footnote, your mind went elsewhere. But according to NPR’s book critic Maureen Corrigan, Chabon does a really good job of it. Trust us: We’re writing a list here, too, that you’re reading.*


4. It Came From the Same Place as Wonder Boys

Chabon told The New York Times recently: “At the time that it had originated, I had absolutely no idea where it was coming from. It was a very mysterious experience. I’ve only really ever had something like this happen once before with a book and that was with Wonder Boys.”


5. It Pays Homage to ‘The Greatest Generation’

Tom Brokaw helped popularize the phase, referring to the generation of people who grew up during the Great Depression and weathered (or fought in) World War II. Tablet calls Moonglow Chabon’s “tribute” to this generation. We love a good historical novel; sign us up.


6. It Features a Narrative Voice Similar to That of Kavalier & Clay

Writes Cody Delistraty of The New Yorker: “[Chabon writes in] a rollicking voice recalling The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, his best-selling novel from 2000.”


7. It’s Shorter Than Kavalier & Clay

It’s “only” 429 pages. So you can finish it over a few weeks. Or days, even, if you’re a speed-reader.

Buy Michael Chabon’s Moonglow here.

*Please continue reading this list.

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