Wednesday, June 11, 2008

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

My husband picked up this book because he liked some of Chabon's other books. He read it quickly, enjoyed it, and suggested I read it knowing that I like mysteries. Maybe it was my frame of mind, but I just couldn't get into the flow of this book. So much so that I read the first 50 pages, skimmed most of the book, and read the last chapter to see 'whodunit.' I don't feel like I missed too much.
Chabon has a unique style of writing. He is one of the few authors I know who writes a male equivalent to chick lit. The books deal with male bonding and problems more specific to men. In this instance I just did not feel engaged in the story line. Among other things I think my aversion had to do with the premise for the book. The story takes place in an alternate present in which Israel has fallen to the Arabs and much of the Jewish population has relocated to Alaska. As the novel starts Alaska is one year away from being given back to the United States (much like Hong Kong's return to China in 1997.) Being a historian I had a hard time relating to the premise.
In addition the book uses heavy Jewish jargon/slang which made it hard to read easily. I got the impression much of the book was tongue in cheek but I was outside the know and missed the joke.
I haven't told my husband yet that I have given up on yet another book that he recommended - another in that list includes Everything is Illuminated. He's also still waiting for me to finish the Gunslinger/Dark Tower Series by Stephen King. All in good time.
Since it is summer time and much of my reading will be done in the backyard while my boys run rampant around me, I think it is time for something light, enjoyable, and easy to read when continuously interrupted.

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