'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

Remembering Alan Cheuse, Our Longtime Literary Guide

For some 30 years, Alan Cheuse was our guide to the best and worst of the written word. He passed away today at 75, after a car accident two weeks ago. NPR's Susan Stamberg has an appreciation.
NPR

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

Conventional farmers use millions of pounds of pesticides each year to protect crops from weeds and insects. When those chemicals drift to neighboring property, they can ruin crops on organic farms.
NPR

Hillary Clinton To Release 8 Years Of Tax Returns

The returns will show that she and her husband Bill Clinton paid nearly $44 million in federal taxes since 2007, according to her campaign. "We've come a long way," she said.
NPR

Letting Go Of The Wheel: How Google Is Easing People Into Self-Driving Cars

Google has begun testing a new self-driving car this summer that is designed to work without a steering wheel. But as the Planet Money team reports, the company's biggest challenge may be convincing Americans to hop inside.

Leave a Comment

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