Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Telegraph Avenue

Messy. I love reading Michael Chabon’s fiction because I find that the words and phrases and sentences he builds are among the best I’ve read. In Telegraph Avenue, Chabon displays all that virtuosity with language while drawing readers into caring about the messy lives of the protagonists, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe, and their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe. Archy and Nat are partners in Brokeland Records, located in a former barbershop in Berkeley, where they sell used vinyl records. Gwen and Aviva are midwives. All these characters are facing threats to the status quo, and Chabon builds on their love, their history, and the setting to reveal a slice of humanity that speaks to every one of us. The business troubles, relationship challenges, and threats to harmony are all familiar themes that Chabon mines with great skill and precision. I cared about these characters by the end of the novel, and I thought of them as if they were my neighbors. I reread many sentences, savoring Chabon’s skilled writing, especially when he seemed a bit off track, and found those elaborations to be beautiful. Rating: Five-star (I love it) Click here to purchase Telegraph Avenue from

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