Customer Reviews


32 Reviews
5 star:
 (18)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (4)
2 star:
 (1)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The awakening of Art
Art Bechstein, fresh out of college, notices an attractive young man in the library, no sooner is he outside the library than this attractive young man, the very appealing and flamboyant Arthur is standing beside him. In addition the attentions of Arthur, Art struggles with his uncertain feelings for Phlox, the strange girl who works in the library. So begins a summer of...
Published on 13 Dec 2006 by Benjamin

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When you're young
I picked this up after seeing the trailer for the film adaption. In my copy, before you get to the story, there are a lot of reviews that praise the "expansive skill" of the 24 year-old writer, who's described in the publisher's blurb as having attended the University of Pittsburgh. So when the story turns out to be narrated by a young man who's just graduated from...
Published on 17 Aug 2009 by Jeremy Walton


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The awakening of Art, 13 Dec 2006
By 
Benjamin (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Art Bechstein, fresh out of college, notices an attractive young man in the library, no sooner is he outside the library than this attractive young man, the very appealing and flamboyant Arthur is standing beside him. In addition the attentions of Arthur, Art struggles with his uncertain feelings for Phlox, the strange girl who works in the library. So begins a summer of friendships, sex and parties, and a beautiful relationship that eventually dispels any doubts Art might have had about his sexuality. Add to that the hint of gangsters and the mysterious smoke from a factory; it all contributes to captivating read.

This is a thoroughly engrossing and interesting story, beautifully written and full of vitality, wit and humour.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Strangely compelling, 1 Dec 2007
By 
kehs (Hertfordshire, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This book was slow to grab my attention, but once it had I was then hooked. I read it in one sitting and was pleasantly surprised at how entertaining it turned out to be. It's crammed with humour and dry wit but also has moments of great poignancy. The main character, Art, whose father is a big time gangster, gets caught up in a love triangle with his homosexual friend Arthur and a girl called Phlox. The story relates the summer that he spends trying to discover who he really is and what his true feelings are for his partners. Events reach a traumatic conclusion when his father hears about his gay relationship, and steps in to put an end to it. This is a beautifully written book, and one that I found strangely compelling.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great, grand book, 8 Dec 1997
By A Customer
I hate reading reviews of books that begin, "The greatest book I ever read, it changed my life!" And so I'm a little embarrassed to write that "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" is, uh, the greatest book I ever read, and it changed my life. OK, maybe it didn't exactly change my life, but when I finished the last page and went for a walk, the world was a different place. It was a world of wonder, of possiblity, and I was glad to be a part of it. I'm a Pittsburgher, and a grad student at Pitt, so reading this magical story about neighborhoods I have walked through and bars where I have been shot down had a special resonance for me. The language of the novel is so rich, so beautiful, that I have read and re-read it several times. At times funny, at times tragic, at all times fascinating, it is just a magnificent book. The book is often described, for the most part accurately, as a gay coming-of-age story, and I must at this point confess that I am not gay, not even a little bit. But I still greatly enjoyed reading about the relationship of the two Arthurs, even as I hoped Art would reunite with his wonderfully bizarre Phlox. And I haven't even mentioned the force of nature named Cleveland, or Art's mobster father, or the myriad other delights of this wonderful book. Unlike so many other books written by twentysomethings, this book doesn't dwell on slacker angst or indulge in pointless diatribes about how crummy the world is. This is a book about love, about friendship, about family, and about how precious and tenuous they all are. Like I said, I'm from Pittsburgh, and I love my hometown. Pittsburgh is a bit provincial, it lacks the glamour and glitz of New York or Los Angeles. But Chabon shows that magic can happen anywhere, even in the Hillman Library at Pitt, and that the wonderful mysteries of life can be revealed in the humblest of places. Read this book, and just enjoy the journey.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What can happen if you have too much time on your hands..., 24 July 2006
By 
MrShev "mrshev" (Gloucestershire, UK) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This is the tale of Art who, after finishing college, hangs around Pittsburg waiting for something to happen. Art is a bit of a trustfund baby but the source of his income is an embarrasment to him. But the life he starts to lead starts to become an embarrasment to his income...

This is a book that burns slowly but gradually builds and takes you in, along with Art, on a journey. I loved the way he develops new relationships and how he described the adulation for his new friends, his fears and his doubts. The relationships are so delicately drawn that it feels like reportage and I really liked that.

I gave it only four stars because there is a spark missing from this book. There are no sympathetic characters, the lazy days of summer - though well evoked - made me a bit lazy as a reader. I felt a little bit like Art in this book - continually waiting for something to happen, but when it did it was neither surprising nor exciting. I did enjoy the book, but I don't miss it and was glad to finish it.

I don't want to be too negative because it was a good book and it is worth reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lazy, hazy days of college, 12 Mar 2001
This is a great book for those of us caught up in the rat race of the working world. It takes us back to those days of college where the biggest problem in life was getting over a hangover from drinking too much the night before. Life is the twilight world of summer semester at college, filled with parties. The characters are fun; the dialogue witty.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book-extremely visual if you know the city, 29 April 1998
By A Customer
Having gone to Carnegie Mellon University, (in Pittsburgh) this book hit home. The characters out of context may seem unreal, yet if you have ever lived in the city, you know they are commonplace, and part of what makes Pittsburgh so amazing. I thought that is was a modern work with similarities in the intent of Catcher in the Rye. It portrays human relationships so well, and with complete unashamed honesty. I would strongly recommend this book if you like the works Douglas Coupland, novels about coming of age, or if you like Catcher in the Rye.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As good a young writer as there is., 24 Feb 1997
By A Customer
It has been a year since I read this book and it still haunts me. Coming of age novels written by a 24 year old are not generally by 51 year old cup of tea, but Chabon is simply a magical writer. I had reread Catcher in the Rye just before reading this and Chabon wins handsdown in my view. The descriptions are as close to real life as it gets and the characters have at least three dimensions. Chabon's other novel and his book of short stories are not as strong as this book, but he is definitely worth watching and reading.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Vivid Characters Provide Truth In Fiction, 28 July 1997
By A Customer
Michael Chabon's first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, has to be the best peice of fiction I've ever read. The dramatic and exaggerated antics of Art, Arthur, Phlox and company paint widely drawn but finely detailed charachters, whom the reader comes to fiercely love by the novel's end.
The drama-queen behaviors of Arthur and Phlox and the baseness and blunt truth of Cleveland and Jane do not mimic, as in so many other novels, the real actions of people, yet come at you with honesty, and Chabon makes them so human you come to feel you know them. These characters make the novel ring true every step of
the way, and their vivid, face-slapping real-ness makes "The Mysteries..." seem more of an autobiography than a fictional account of the poingancy of loss of youth. The last paragraph of the book makes it all come together, a youthful admittance and half-apology for the common tendency of the young to add to the truth. The allowance that "as usual, I have probably exaggerated everything" only makes the book, the narrator, and his friends more believable.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, 17 Mar 1998
By A Customer
When you consider Chabon's age at the writing of this book, it becomes even more unbelievable. This is hands down the best book that I've read in the last five years; here is, finally, a concise, dramatic representation of our young generation in the full swing of hope and misery. Chabon avoids hackneyed situations, dialogue and emotions; he avoids sentimentality in its most over-used definition, but his outlook on the characters' relationships is cogent and convincing. I was left breathless by his ability to make us care for people, to show us, with a little humor, the dark sides of us all, and Chabon makes us all feel a little less ashamed of our involvement in life. He is a truly generous writer, in love with his work, and sensitive to the reader. His characters in this book represent us all, and he has, with a single first book, raised the stakes where modern writing is concerned. This book will be remembered for generations; it would be a sign of wisdom to recognize it now.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars When you're young, 17 Aug 2009
By 
Jeremy Walton (Sidmouth, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
I picked this up after seeing the trailer for the film adaption. In my copy, before you get to the story, there are a lot of reviews that praise the "expansive skill" of the 24 year-old writer, who's described in the publisher's blurb as having attended the University of Pittsburgh. So when the story turns out to be narrated by a young man who's just graduated from... the University of Pittsburgh, it's slightly difficult not to wonder whether it's a real-life confessional with all the names changed. If it was, there'd be a lot to talk about: a difficult relationship with a powerful father, alternating sexual congress with a girl and a boy, and a darkly attractive friend who's going off the rails, complete with a girlfriend who drags herself through the mud for him.

For the most part, the author handles these characters very well, giving them memorable, funny and interesting things to say. I was more impatient with their actions - particularly the narrator's swithering between his romantic interests, and the length of time it took for the friend to arrive at a destination which had been clearly telegraphed from the moment of his introduction. At the end, the narrator decides whether or not he'd loved his friends according to whether or not they'd changed him. Such a view expects a lot of effort on the part of his friends, but I've got an uncomfortable feeling that - as far as I recall - that's how you think about people when you're young.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 4 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Mysteries of Pittsburgh
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh by Michael Chabon (Hardcover - April 1988)
Used & New from: 0.28
Add to wishlist See buying options
Only search this product's reviews