The books interview: Pulitzer winner Michael Chabon
The Pulitzer winner talks to Alex Preston about combining writing with raising kids, his freakozoid tendencies and the authors he returns to
Michael Chabon is one of America’s best-loved writers, the author of nine novels, including The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (which won the Pulitzer prize), Wonder Boys, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union and Moonglow. In 2009, he published Manhood for Amateurs, a series of reflections on his early years as a father. Now, with Pops: Fatherhood in Pieces, 54-year-old Chabon has collected his essays about parenting four teenagers.
A few years ago, Chabon’s wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, wrote a controversial essay for the New York Times in which she claimed to love her husband more than her children (and to be the only one of her married friends still having regular sex). Chabon’s meditations on fatherhood are less likely to offend – they’re generous, very Californian (Chabon lives in Berkeley) and full of warm, often humorous anecdotes.
If Manhood for Amateurs was about taking on responsibility, Pops feels like it’s about letting go as your kids grow up. Michael Chabon is the author of nine novels, including The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, and parenting essays. Do you worry about their right to private lives? What’s the last really great book you read? How do you organise your books? Which classic novel did you read recently for the first time? Which book would you give to a young person?