cOlbert's Book Club - Michael Chabon & "A Farewell to Arms"

  • Aired:  01/21/14
  •  | Views: 9,434

"Telegraph Avenue" author Michael Chabon discusses Hemingway's innovative writing style and ponders the lack of sexy-time in "A Farewell to Arms." (7:30)

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]>> Stephen: WELCOME BACK,

EVERYBODY.

FOLKS, WELCOME BACK TO THECOLBERT BOOK CLUB ALREADY IN

PROGRESS.

LONG TIME VIEWERS OF TO THE'SSHOW KNOW WE'RE TALKING ABOUT

NOBEL PRIZE WINNER AND MYPERSONAL HERO RUGGED MAN'S MAN

ERNEST HEMINGWAY.

WE'RE DISCUSSING HIS WORLD WAR ICLASSIC "FAREWELL TO ARMS."

I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME I READTHE BOOK.

IT'S LIKE IT WAS YESTERDAY.

IT WAS YESTERDAY.

I READ IT FROM THE FRONT COVERTO THE BACK COVER.

I TELL YOU WHAT I NEVER SAWCOMING, $27 U.S.

$30 CANADIAN.

EVIDENTLY IT'S A SLIGHTLY BETTERBOOK IN CANADA.

MY GUEST TONIGHT TO DISCUSS THE"FAREWELL TO ARMS" IS THE

PULITZER PRIZE WINNING AUTHOR,MICHAEL CHABON.

(DOORBELL).

>> Stephen: THERE HE IS NOW.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, MICHAELCHABON.

THANK YOU FOR JOINING ME.

>> I'M SO HAPPY TO BE HERE.

[LAUGHING]>> Stephen: YOU'RE THE BEST

SELLING AUTHOR PULITZER PRIZEWINNER.

A NEW BOOK "TELEGRAPH AVENUE."

>> YES.

Stephen: NEITHER BY ERNESTHEMINGWAY.

YOU'RE A ENORMOUS FAN OFHEMINGWAY, TRUE.

>> YES, LIFE LONG.

Stephen: WHY DO YOU THINKHE'S A GREAT AMERICAN MASTER?

WHY ARE KIDS FORCED TO READ THISIN SCHOOL?

>> WELL, I THINK OF ALL OF THEBOOKS YOU MAY GET FORCED TO READ

IN SCHOOL THIS IS ONE THAT ISLEAST PAINFUL.

I THINK THE THING ABOUTHEMINGWAY THAT STAYS WITH ME.

IT HAS STAYED WITH ALL OF USOVER THE YEARS IS THE WRITING

ITSELF.

THE HEMINGWAY STYLE.

YOU TALK ABOUT THE SPARE,SPARING USE OF ADJECTIVES.

>> Stephen: IF HE WAS PAID BYTHE WORD HE WOULD OF STARVED TO

DEATH.

>> THAT'S THE THING HE LEARNEDHOW TO DO IT BY WORKING AS A

JOURNALIST.

HIS INNOVATION.

IF YOU PICK UP A BOOK OF EARLYHEMINGWAY, FROM THE 20S.

IT'S FREE FRESH, MAY OF BEENWRITTEN YESTERDAY.

THE WRITING IS SO LEAN.

WHERE AS YOU PICK UP SOMETHING,I LOVE FITZGERALD.

BUT THE GREAT GATSBY HAS AVICTORIAN, DATED QUALITY.

HEMINGWAY IS UTTERLY FRESHAND MODERN.

I THINK THAT'S BECAUSE HEINVENTED THE MODERN WAY OF

WRITING.

HE INVENTED THE AMERICANNARRATIVE VOICE.

HIS SHAD OH HE CASTS A LONGSHADOW THROUGH THE 20th

CENTURY.

>> Stephen: FOR SUCH A MANLYMAN.

THERE ISN'T A LOT OF SEX INTHIS.

WE'RE NOT ENTIRELY SURE.

IT'S FREDERICK HENRY AND THENKATHRYN.

WHAT'S HER LAST NAME.

>> I FORGET.

SORRY. I DIDN'T KNOW -->> Stephen: IF YOU REMEMBERED, I

HAD REMEMBERED IT WOULD SEEMLIKE ONE OF US HADN'T READ THE

BOOK.

>> ARE YOU GOING TO HOLD ME --Stephen: CATHRYN.

>> YES FREDERICK AND CATHRYN.

Stephen: YOU'RE NOT SURE HOWCATHRYN GETS PREGNANT.

"50 SHADES OF GREY" SOLD A TON.

WHY NOT MORE LIGHTS ON, WILDSTYLE?

FOR A MANLY MAN WHY NOT SEXYTIME.

>> WELL, SPEAKING AS A MANLYMAN.

I THINK, YOU KNOW THE TIME HEWAS WRITING --

[LAUGHING]>> THE TIME HE WAS WRITING IT

WAS JUST, HE DID PUSH BOUNDARIESFOR WHAT WAS ACCEPTABLE IN A

WORK OF FICTION IN TERMS OFTABOOS.

THEY WERE FAIRLY STRONG.

HE HAD TO EDIT OUT A LOT OFLANGUAGE.

I THINK HE USED MORE FOUR LETTERWORDS IN THE ORIGINAL DRAFT.

A LOT OF THAT WAS TAKEN OUT.

>> Stephen: WHY, WHY IF YOU WANTTO WRITE SOMETHING SO

EMOTIONALLY SPARE WHY DO ANOVEL.

WHY NOT MANUALS FOR IKEAFURNITURE.

PUT PEG B IN SLOT A.

WHICH IS PROBABLY SEXIER THAN --[LAUGHING]

>> Stephen: -- HE WROTE IN HERE.

WHY DO YOU THINK?

WHY DO YOU THINK HE WENT FROMJOURNALISM TO NOVELS.

JOURNALISM IS DRY.

DON'T WE WANT GOOEY GUSHY IN THENOVEL?

>> TO THE EXTENT OF THE GUSHYSTUFF IT'S THE DETRIMENT TO THE

BOOK.

WHAT MAKES THIS BOOK SOMAGNIFICENT TO ME ARE THE WAR

PASSAGES.

YOU MENTIONED IN THEINTRODUCTION HEMINGWAY

EXPERIENCED SEVERE TRAUMA INWAR.

ALMOST FATALLY INJURED.

YOU KNOW HE WENT OFF LOOKING FOREXCITEMENT.

HE VOLUNTEERED, AS YOU SAID.

WHAT IS REMARKABLE ABOUT THEBOOK IS IT IS, IF NOT THE

EARLIEST ONE OF THE EARLIESTEFFORTS OF A VETERAN OF WAR TO

TRY TO WRITE ABOUT THEEXPERIENCE OF WAR FROM A

SOLDIERS, AN ORDINARY SOLDIER'SPOINT OF VIEW.

>> Stephen: DO WE NEED THATANYMORE, WE HAVE "CALL OF DUTY"

NOW?

15 HOURS OF THAT YOU'RE LIKE NOMORE CHEETOS I WANT OUT.

>> YOU'RE RIGHT.

THINK YOU'RE RIGHT.

THERE IS ALMOST AN EXACTEQUIVALENT SEE BETWEEN CALL OF

DUTY -->> Stephen: THE GRAPHICS.

BACK THEN THEY DIDN'T HAVE THEGRAPHICS.

>> NO.

IT WAS LIKE 8 BIT I THINK.

>> Stephen: LET'S TALK ABOUT THEBOOK ITSELF.

HE SURVIVED THE WAR.

GOES OFF WITH CATHRYN.

SHE DIES IN CHILD BIRTH.

>> YEAH.

Stephen: SPOILER ALERT.

IT SPOILS YOURMOOD.

>> YA, I MEAN THE -- THE, IT'S AFUNNY BOOK IN A WAY.

>> Stephen: HILARIOUS.

HILARIOUS.

IS IT YOUR FAVORITE HEMINGWAY?

HIS GREATEST BOOK.

>> I THINK THIS AND THEN THESHORT STORIES CALLED THE "NICK

ADAMS STORIES."

IT'S AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL.

THEY TAKE A CHARACTER, NICK,FROM HIS BOYHOOD THROUGH WORLD

WAR I.

>> Stephen: I READ THAT "OLD MANIN THE SEA" THAT'S SUPER SHORT.

I DID A BOOK REPORT IN SIXTHGRADE.

>> HOW DID YOU DO?

Stephen: I GOT AN "A."

I DON'T WANT TO BRAG.

IN THAT BOOK, YOU KNOW THERE ISAN OLD MAN.

THERE IS THE SEA.

>> YA.

Stephen: IS FREDERICK THE OLDMAN, YOU KNOW IN THIS BOOK, AND

IS CATHRYN, HER NAME BEGINS WITHA "C."

IS SHE THE SEA?

IS THERE A PARALLEL OR IS SHETHE MARLIN?

>> I -- YOU KNOW THAT'S HARD TOMAKE A CONNECTION BETWEEN THESE

TWO BOOKS.

>> Stephen: I DID IT I DID ITTWICE.

I SHOULD OF BEEN THE GUEST ONTHIS SHOW.

MICHAEL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FORJOINING ME.

MICHAEL CHABON, THE BOOK IS"TELEGRAPH AVENUE" WE WILL BE

RIGHT BACK.

[CHEERS AND APPLAUSE]