Loads of Learned Lumber

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Michael Chabon, _Telegraph Avenue_

GOOD GRIEF, IT'S almost April, and I have not posted since mid-January. And 2013 was such a banner year, too. Well, I was on sabbatical for part of it. Still.

I finished this months ago--January, in fact--and to tell you the truth, it has faded in my memory a bit. What I remember thinking at that time:

1) Mighty audacious of Chabon to write a novel with several important African-American characters. Even a quick-witted, highly perceptive novelist like Chabon runs a large risk of getting out of his depth and dropping a brick in such territory. Not that I would have noticed anything myself, mind. But plenty of people would.

2) Once again, the vivacity and dazzle of Chabon's style is very winning.

3) But the love-over-gold theme--being a midwife versus being an M.D., running a cool used vinyl store as opposed to being part of a mega-retail operation--how interesting is that? Some, but not lots.

4) I hope he keeps doing stuff like Chapter 3, "A Bird of Wide Experience." Best thing in the whole book, by my lights, though every page had some to relish, a simile, a turn of phrase.

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