Maps and Legends: Reading and Writing Along the Borderlands

McSweeney’s Books  2008


Chabon’s first nonfiction collection gathers sixteen essays and talks ranging over a variety of topics from Sherlock Holmes, Cormac McCarthy, M.R. James, and Will Eisner to the art of the short story, the role of the trickster, and the strange, mysterious, and marvelous power of the golem. Fifteen of the pieces in the collection have appeared previously, some in different forms, in various sources. Chabon’s fans will appreciate the glimpses he offers into his own formative years as a writer, and his fits and starts in the trade, in “My Back Pages.” Chabon’s loving tributes to masters of the comics Will Eisner (“Thoughts on the Death of Will Eisner”), Howard Chaykin (“The Killer Hook”), and Ben Katchor (“Landsman of the Lost”), as well as his manifesto on reviving the comic book for children today (“Kids’ Stuff”), reveal his deep and long-standing love affair with the comics. Underlying all of the pieces in this collection is Chabon’s abiding concern that all forms of literature, as they negotiate the borders of reality and appearance, should be entertaining and proud of their ability to entertain.

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