I just finished reading Michael Chabon's first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. It's better than any first novel has the right to be, especially since Chabon started it when he was only 21 years old.
No, it's not perfect. The ending, especially, feels rushed. That's not unusual: most fiction authors write more-or-less in order, first chapter to last. The author has had the early chapters long enough to revise them over and over, but less time to work on the last chapters. Nevertheless, it's damn good.
Years ago, when I read Ramond Radiguet's Devil in the Flesh and realized that the author was only 18 years old, it made me feel like I know nothing about love.
Reading The Mysteries of Pittsburgh make me feel like I know nothing about writing a witty and engaging story.
I'll be thinking about that when I do a bookstore reading of my witty and engaging work this Sunday.