For the September 2016 issue of GQ, Michael Chabon wrote a piece about accompanying his son, then thirteen, to Paris Men’s Fashion Week. What emerged was a deep respect for his son's passion. The piece quickly became a viral sensation. Using that story as a centerpiece, this collection of essays explores the meaning of fatherhood.
Michael Chabon’s new book, Pops collects seven essays, each of which shines a light on moments revealing the plight of the modern father ... Chabon’s book feels like a late-night talk with a friend about how much we love our kids and how hopeful we are that we’re better dads than we fear ... at first glance I thought this book might just repackage Chabon’s magazine work, with no other reason for being. But then I read the final chapter and it all came together ... In just a few pages I understood why Chabon found such meaning in fatherhood.
...a heartfelt and thoughtful meditation on what parenthood asks of a man. Rather than focusing on the next generation, the book is about the experience of being in the previous one, and observing one’s slow-burning irrelevance ... While no great parenting secrets are uncovered in this slim volume, Chabon has a knack of locating the fundamentals of the parent-child relationship in the innocuous and the everyday.
The novelist’s equanimity is so unassailable, and his parenting style so judicious and measured, that lesser men may feel inadequate ... To be sure, though, Chabon writes with grace and insight about his relationship with his father, which is 'shadowed by the usual anger, disappointment, and failure, strewn with the bones of old promises and lies.' The best part of Pops— which is admittedly often dazzling—is the introduction, in which Chabon relates, with consummate skill, a long-ago conversation with an anonymous older writer who warned the impressionable young writer, 'You can write great books, or you can have kids.' Chabon’s rejection of this sinister bit of advice is genuinely wise, concluding that only 'a scant few' novels and short stories will survive anyhow.