Maps and Legends

MapsandLegendsMaps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands
Michael Chabon
Open Road Media (December 20, 2011), 203 pages
Kindle Edition $7.99, Amazon Hardcover $18.50, Amazon Paperback $12.31
Kindle edition purchased during an Early Bird Books sale for $1.99

This volume is an interesting and eclectic collection of essays by Michael Chabon, who is best known for his fiction. He starts with a long essay on Sherlock Holmes in which he discusses not only Arthur Conan Doyle’s fiction, but Doyle’s own background. He describes a professor that Doyle had in medical school who was the basis for Sherlock Holmes. Chabon then goes on to discuss the genre of horror fiction. In one essay he starts out writing about the Jewish legend of the golem, the man created from clay, and then morphs into a discussion of his own creations in the form of writing.

In several essays Chabon discusses his own writing. He talks about his first computer, an Osborne 1a which he bought it in 1983. As he describes it, it was we used to call a “luggable.” He is surprisingly candid about his own struggles as a writer, and describes how frequently people assume that his fiction is drawn from his own life, even when there is not the slightest resemblance.

There is little that is profound here, but Maps and Legends is an enjoyable diversion.

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