The brilliantly original new novel from Michael Chabon, author of ‘The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay’ and ‘The Final Solution’.
What if, as Franklin Roosevelt once proposed, Alaska – and not Israel – had become the homeland for the Jews after World War II? In Michael Chabon's Yiddish-speaking 'Alyeska', Orthodox gangs in side-curls and knee breeches roam the streets of Sitka, where Detective Meyer Landsman discovers the corpse of a heroin-addled chess prodigy in the flophouse Meyer calls home. Marionette strings stretch back to the hands of charismatic Rebbe Gold, leader of a sect that seems to have drawn its mission statement from the Cosa Nostra – but behind Rebbe looms an even larger shadow…Despite sensible protests from Berko, his half-Tlingit, half-Jewish partner, Meyer is determined to unsnarl the meaning behind the murder. Even if that means surrendering his badge and his dignity to the chief of Sitka's homicide unit – also known as his fearsome ex-wife, Bina.
‘The Yiddish Policemen's Union’ interweaves an homage to the stylish menace of 1940s noir with a bittersweet fable of identity, home and faith. It is a novel of colossal ambition and heart from one of the most important and beloved writers working today.
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Praise for ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay’:
‘An adventure story that keeps you up until 4am with the bedside lamp on, eager to learn if the Escapist, and Chabon himself, can free the enslaved and lead them home.’ Observer
‘Proof of the abiding power of complex, serious, engaged, but above all entertaining story-telling.’ Times Literary Supplement
‘A page-turning epic, sketching World War II as seen through the eyes of two comic book writers.’ Time Out
‘A novel of towering achievement.’ New York Times
‘Absolutely gosh-wow, super-colossal.’ Washington PostFrom the Publisher:
*Starred Review* Like Haruki Murakami in Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End
of the World (1991), Chabon plays with the conventions of the Chandlerian
private-eye novel, but that's only one ingredient in an epic-scale
alternate-history saga of Jewish life since World War II. The premise draws
on an obscure historical fact: FDR once proposed that Alaska, not Israel,
become the homeland for Jews after the war. In Chabon's telling, that's
exactly what happened, except, inevitably, it hasn't gone as planned: the
U.S. government now has enacted a policy that will evict all Jews without
proper papers from Sitka, the center of Jewish Alaska. In the midst of this
nightmare, browbeaten police detective Meyer Landsman investigates the
murder of a heroin-addicted chess prodigy who happens to be the disgraced
son of Sitka's most powerful rabbi. No one wants this case solved, from
Landsman's boss (his ex-wife, Bina) to the FBI, but our Yiddish Marlowe
keeps digging, uncovering apocalypse in the making. Chabon manipulates his
bulging plot masterfully, but what makes the novel soar is its humor and
humanity. Even without grasping all the Yiddish wordplay that seasons the
delectable prose, readers will fall headlong into the alternate universe of
Chabon's Sitka, where black humor is a kind of antifreeze necessary to
support life. And when Meyer, in the end, must "weigh the fates of the
Jews, of the Arabs, of the whole unblessed and homeless planet" against a
promise made to a grieving mother, it's clear that this parallel world
smells a lot like home. Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay ran
the book-award table in 2000, and this one just may be its equal. Bill Ott
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Book Description Fourth Estate Limited, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110007208065
Book Description Fourth Estate Ltd, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0007208065