'Awesome Man' Is Super, And Maybe You Are, Too | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

'Awesome Man' Is Super, And Maybe You Are, Too

Play associated audio

Michael Chabon won a Pulitzer Prize for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay back in 2001. Ten years later, he has a new book out, called The Astonishing Secret of Awesome Man.

This one may sound like a sequel, but Chabon isn't after another Pulitzer. He's looking for ohhhs and ahhhs, hearty giggles and gleeful faces as kids from coast to coast bed down for the night.

That's because Awesome Man, with his trusty sidekick Moskowitz the Awesome Dog, is a children's book — Chabon's first. His inspiration, he tells weekends on All Things Considered host Guy Raz, was his son, Abe.

"Like a lot of boys his age, he was just starting kindergarten and he was really into superheroes," Chabon says. "Dressing up in superhero costumes and running around imagining that he could fly or have titanium — sorry, adamantium — claws that come out of his hands and so on."

But Abe was also struggling with other issues, like keeping his temper and staying in control. So Chabon thought writing him a little story might help Abe work through some of his problems. And it might even be fun to read or listen to.

Awesome Man is, well, "basically awesome," as the man himself puts it. He can fly as high as a satellite and shoot positronic rays out of his eyeballs. Giant killer robots just hate that stuff, he says. Superheroes, Chabon says, have a lot to offer kids.

"There's the costume element of it," he says. "There's the fantasy element of just wishing for abilities and powers that one can't have or doesn't have, like flight for example.

"But even more than that, I think it's, to some degree, because they still haven't quite given up hope that they might be able to fly. That they might be able to have these kind of powers — that it's not completely impossible.

"The idea that you have a hidden potential that only you might know about and that the world doesn't understand or appreciate," he says. "I think that's an important element."

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

Seahawks, Patriots, Face Off For Super Bowl XLIX

Seattle, the defending champs, hope to do it again in Glendale, Ariz., but the face slightly favored New England.
NPR

College Life Doesn't Have To Mean Crummy Cuisine, Says Dorm Room Chef

Sick of dining hall pizza, public health student Emily Hu taught herself how to cook — even with no oven. Now she's hoping to inspire her peers to pick up cooking skills and healthier eating habits.
NPR

Democrat Seeks To Authorize Operations Against ISIS

Rep. Adam Schiff of California plans to introduce a bill to allow congressional authorization of military operations against ISIS. NPR's Rachel Martin talks to Rep. Schiff about the new legislation.
NPR

In Sweden, Remote-Control Airport Is A Reality

Sweden is the first country in the world to use new technology to land passenger airplanes remotely. At an airport in a tiny town, flights are guided by operators sitting miles away.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.