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Posted April 19, 2005
Chabon's first collection of stories, 'A Model World,' is amazing; this second collection, 'Werewolves in Their Youth,' features many of the same thematic haunts - divorce, sexual dysfunction, latent Jewishness, man-children - and just as many elegant sentences as one can expect from Chabon. But this book is surprisingly less moving or engaging as Chabon's other stories. The stories begin to feel repetitious, thematically and structurally, and at times stiflingly elegiac. There are two or three really nice pieces here - particularly 'House Hunting' and the eponymous tale - as well as an interesting exercise in pulp horror from 'August Van Zorn,' the fictional writer much-balleyhooed by the narrator of Chabon's novel 'Wonder Boys.' But for the most part, Chabon's on autopilot here.
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