Absolutely one of my favourite novels ever.....I want to go to that gritty, mystical Sitka that Michael Chabon invented and stay awhile....
An odd blend of future history, noir, and literary fiction. Chabon's ability to turn a clever phase is without doubt, but the lengthy descriptions detract from the plot making this seeming detective yarn into a bit of a plod.
Didn't finish. Not a compelling plot and too much yiddish jargon/reference to plod through.
"Imagine if tiny Sitka, Alaska, had been annexed as a temporary territory for homeless Jews after World War II. This odd proposition makes for a wonderfully surreal setting populated by rabbis, chess masters, and ultra-orthodox gangsters. In the midst of all this is Meyer Landsman, a depressed, alcoholic, and irreligious Jewish homicide cop who's only got a couple months to figure out who murdered a heroin-addicted former chess prodigy and gangster before Sitka reverts to Alaska and Sitka's Jews find themselves homeless once more. "Impressively wacky," says The New York Times." Fiction A to Z October 2013 newsletter http://www.nextreads.com/Display2.aspx?SID=5acc8fc1-4e91-4ebe-906d-f8fc5e82a8e0&N=691547
Relentlessly inventive novelist Michael Chabon invents a new genre, the dystopian hardboiled alternative history mystery. His hero, Meyer Landsman, is an alcoholic cop in Sitka, the makeshift resettlement territory established for the Jews in the desolate, dark reaches of Alaska after the promised Jewish homeland turned to ashes in 1949. When a middle-aged junkie is found dead in the fleabag hotel Landsmann calls home, he persuades his reluctant partner and cousin, the half Jewish/half Tlingit Berko Shemets, to join him in the investigation. Chabon serves up a rich stew of dark and demonized characters in a book that is as improbably believable as an episode of The Sopranos crossed with Philip Roth's The Contract Against America. Note: keep a copy of Leo Rosten's The Joy of Yiddish handy. Unless you grew up in one of the 5 boroughs, you'll need it.
Mainstream author who is not a genre snob. An feat of alternate history, very evocative about Jewish identity, and a damn good noir mystery too.
V interesting detective/mystery, fast paced. Funny. Lots of Jewish words thrown into the dialogue - takes awhile to figure out what some of them are but good fun.
I found the first 100 pages to be a bit slow, but got right into the rest of the book. It's a neat whodunnit that might be especially enjoyable for chess fans.
Chabon admittedly likes difficult novels. He likes to read them. So it's no surprise that he writes them that way too. If you like his writing style, try his non-fiction Manhood for Amateurs. Brilliant!
I wouldn't call it at all SF. If you start reading it and expect a SF or a mystery, you will be disappointed. Just expect a well-written novel and you will also find a very funny book.
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