Its been a great run with the books recently. It all began with the Landmark sale that we stumbled into while hunting for the car. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, The Road and Summerland were all acquired there. Suttree too. But I’m saving that up for leaner times.
Michael Chabon was first discovered in 2003 or so with Wonderboys. Had dumped it into the basket on a hurried visit to the Elooru (i miss that dank corner of infantry road and the amount of saving i had to do to be able to afford the blasted place). I didn’t want to return the book. ‘Sobriety is a highly over-rated state of consciousness’ said Mr. Chabon and I agreed. What with the high from reading him. 🙂
The Yiddish Policeman’s Union is a slick book. Mr Chabon takes the case of an essay he had written on finding a ‘Say it in Yiddish’ book, and stretches it. What if a little corner of Alaska had become Israel, and in the final days before the reversion to the United States, there was the murder of a drug addict /former chess prodigy / maybe messiah. What would a down on his luck Yid policeman, who has lost his wife and is about to lose his life do? Written in a noir style, this book is unputdowneable. You twist and turn with Meyer Landsman as he tries to work around his ex-wife (now boss), the Jewish mob, former CIA agents, his own memories and a collapsing community to a satisfying denouement plus happy ending for Meyerle and his Jewess. So on a scale of 1 to buy it. Buy it!
Wonderboys though, just had more soul to it. How to decide that? I could re-read Wonderboys everytime I forget enough of the plot. I can’t say quite the same for the YPU. The way a perfectly good noir book melts into happy endings and sappy lines is 😦 . e.g. ‘My homeland is in my hat. Its in my ex-wife’s tote bag’. In defence of the line, ex-wife redeems the tote bag by pulling everything from meals to first aid to kevlar vests out of it. But still, I wish Meyerle had channeled Bruce Willis till the end instead of turning into a bit of a sap.
Thats all for today folks. Hopefully shall manage to condense all the complimentary adjectives I have for the Road into a review some day. Till then…