Michael Chabon’s “The Amateur Family”

Michael Chabon has been making the rounds for his new book Manhood for Amateurs. He read a piece, “The Amateur Family,” at the Union Square (N.Y.C.) Barnes and Noble:

Perhaps there is no perfect word for the kind of people I have raised my children to be: a word that encompasses obsessive scholarship, passionate curiosity, curatorial tenderness, and an irrepressible desire to join in the game, to inhabit in some manner—through writing, drawing, dressing up, or endless conversational riffing and Talmudic debate—the world of the endlessly inviting, endlessly inhabitable work of popular art. The closest I have ever come for myself is amateur, in all the best senses of the word: a lover; a devotee; a person driven by passion and obsession to do it—to explore the imaginary world—oneself. And if we must accept the inevitable connotation of hopeless ineptitude that amateur carries, then at least let us stipulate that we shall be hopeless and inept like Max Fischer, the hero of Wes Anderson’s Rushmore: in the most passionate, heedless, and whole-hearted way.

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