inkwell_bkstr (inkwell_bkstr) wrote in bookish,

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

Those who’ve read Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, are familiar with his virtuoso writing style - it’s smooth, yet meaty - witty, but tender. He’s a natural and creative storyteller. In his latest novel, the sentence structure is consciously shorter to mimic the noir mystery genre - think Raymond Chandler. In Chabon’s foray into the pulp, hardboiled mystery featuring the down-at-heels detective, Meyer Landsman, we are introduced to a very different world, one in which the Jews after WW2 lost Israel and were forced to settle in Sitka, Alaska. Using the framework of a mystery opens a panoramic window to see into the private moments of a people whose very existence is threatened by deportation. Landsman bridges all levels of society as he investigates the death of a chess prodigy and son of the local, Orthodox mob boss. The murder is a thread that wends through the story, revealing and illuminating the secrets, fears, and bravery of an isolated and displaced people. Chabon is funny and melancholy, often in the same sentence, and the result is a literary treat that has an appeal across genres and genders.

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