The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon There is a New Yorker cartoon that I especially like. A man is shown tied to a chair in an empty room. A woman is pouring gasoline on the floor with the apparent goal of lighting it and setting the room and the man on fire. She is saying, "Look! It's me, not you! OK?"

That is how I feel when I read Michael Chabon. I have now read, or attempted to read, three Chabon novels. The first one I finished but was disappointed. I couldn't even start The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and ended The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay after 150 pages. The conventional wisdom is that Chabon is one of the greatest living American writers and I will agree that his prose is exquisite. Yet something is missing. His characters and plots are set-ups to show his cleverness. They rarely come alive for me and the virtuoso prose is like gold plate. Scratch it and you see the tin under the surface. Chabon writes of working class immigrants in Amazing Adventures yet my skepticism of whether the author knows of what he speaks is as rampant as when I was working in anti-Vietnam War rallies and Jane Fonda told us she represented the "working class, middle class students". Yes, Chabon can dazzle but it is not worth it for me to hunt through the haystack for the diamonds.

So this will be my last Chabon novel. At least for awhile. Yet I can't help thinking I should like his books. That it is me who is failing to connect. So Mr. Chabon, if by some miracle you are actually reading this please don't take it personally. It's me, not you, OK?.