Telegraph Avenue is a Kindle Count me among those that found reading this book a chore Chabon is obviously brilliant and talented but reading his work is a bit like being trapped in the corner at a p
Telegraph Avenue is a Kindle Count me among those that found reading this book a chore. Chabon is obviously brilliant and talented but reading his work is a bit like being trapped in the corner at a party by a manic genius, who feeds you dozens of brilliant different ideas at once, but at such a speed and with so many different tangents along the way that's it difficult to take it all in. Here, to slow things down, you often have to read sentences a couple of times just to keep track of what the noun and verb were in between all the independent clauses and tangential metaphors. Thank God for e-books with their at your fingertips dictionaries, because you also have to look up at least a word or two per page.Clearly plenty of readers enjoy having their minds expanded by such a prodigious talent, but I found much of the information show-offy. It's amazing how many varied metaphors Chabon can spin, but occasionally it would be great to have a few sentences you don't need a road map to get through. A character can't simply reach for a tube of superglue, instead he has to get "a tube of superglue, the crusted tip of its nozzle, forever pierced like some allegorical wound in a story of King Arthur, by its tiny red-capped pin."If that talent were used more judiciously, the reading might not be such a heavy slog.In the previews, I saw a lot of praise for Chabon capturing the current cultural zeitgeist but I guess I didn't get that. He has four main story lines - an African American, Archy, and his Jewish partner, Nat. have a record store in Oakland that's under threat when a former NFL star turned businessmen is thinking about opening a megastore in their neighborhood; their wives are also getting into similar trouble as midwives when they have to rush a mother to a hospital during a difficult delivery and an obstetrician accuses them of negligence; a son Archy didn't know he had shows up in Oakland trying to connect with his father, and Nat's son, who's the same age, has developed a crush on him; and finally, Archy's father, Luther a martial arts expert turned crack addict is trying to rekindle his earlier days as a star in blaxploitation films while also blackmailing an old friend who is now a powerful businessman and city councilman, but who in his younger days killed a local troublemaker as a favor to Huey Newton of the Black Panthers.It sounds like a lot, but the storylines themselves didn't feel like enough to fill up 465 pages. If you took out all the authors' efforts to prove his encyclopedic knowledge of every subject from the history of jazz to superhero comic books, it felt like each story could have been told neater and faster.There are some interesting historical details about the loss of mom & pop-type stores with the invasion of corporate chains. Mixed in with that is an examination of the promise of urban renewal that a Magic Johnson-like figure offers by investing in the inner city. There are also interesting details about the history of midwifery and the conflict that Archy’s wife, Gwen, feels between the historical importance that midwives had in the black culture vs. what it is today – primarily an option of privileged white women. In one of my favorite passages, a night school instructor gives the 14-year-old boys and the other class participants a hysterically funny lecture on how Vincent Minelli’s The Bandwagon influenced Quentin Tarantino. But this novel, for me, doesn’t capture an era the way that Tom Wolfe’s Bonfire of the Vanities did (although admittedly Wolfe doesn’t have anywhere near the writing chops Chabon does.)Too often, though, the novel gets bogged down with evidence of how smart Chabon is thrown up on every page. There are other novelists I love, like Robert Cohen, whose genius and prolific imagination are evident in every sentence. But Cohen fills his novels with great insights into what it means to be human. I don't need to read several pages about how to reassemble an organ speaker, as Chabon does, with the writer proving he knows the exact name for every part.With Chabon, he also often makes you feel stupid for not having a Ph.D in pop culture. Not of all his references are self-contained. Near the end of the novel when Archy's wife Gwen is giving birth, Nat's son, Julius, is helping her deal with the pain by recounting scenes from Star Trek. He writes about an episode in which the female companion to the evil Kirk uses a "Tantalus Field" to overcome her adversaries. When Gwen faces the prospect of having the doctor who charged her with negligence deliver her baby, she asks Julius to cast a Tantalus Field on the doctor. Now I vaguely remember seeing that episode, but I don't remember what the Tantalus Field was, and I'm not reeducated on exactly what it was by Chabon's description.My final complaint is one I've had with previous Chabon novels. He often writes gay lovemaking scenes in very specific detail, and while I don't have any problem with that, I wish he would give hetero lovemaking equal time. The two sex scenes in this novel are not for the squeamish because they involve sexual experimentation between the two 14-year-old boys and an episode when the philandering Archy sodomizes, consensually, his wife's transgendered assistant.I don't regret finishing this one, although it took me a long while to get through it because I wasn't always motivated to pick it up. His writing reminds me of Zadie Smith. It may sound oxymoronic but there's just too much sheer brilliance on every page and in every sentence. Call me insecure, and maybe even a philistine, but I prefer to read novelists whose own writing style is less obvious so that I can get into the characters and be moved by the circumstances they find themselves in. I find Chabon's style, which constantly reminds me there's a much more brilliant mind than mine stringing these sentences together, keeps me too disconnected from the characters. And what is the infamous 11-page sentence, other than a break in the characters' story to show another explicit example of what a virtuoso Chabon is?I didn't always feel this way about Chabon. I haven't read all of his books, but I did like Mysteries of Pittsburgh and the marvelous The Wonder Boys. But the Pulitzer-prize winning Kavalier and Clay left me feeling the same way this one did. After this experience, he may be off my must-read author list.I'm sure this book will be on many "Best of the Year" lists, but it seems to me book critics and judges are mesmerized by the kind of writing that often turns me off. . Telegraph Avenue is the great American novel we ve been waiting for Generous, imaginative, funny, moving, thrilling, humane, triumphant, it is Michael Chabon s most dazzling book yet.As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there longtime friends, bandmates, and co regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl loTelegraph Avenue is the great American novel we ve been waiting for Generous, imaginative, funny, moving, thrilling, humane, triumphant, it is Michael Chabon s most dazzling book yet.As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there longtime friends, bandmates, and co regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, two semi legendary midwives who have welcomed than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart half tavern, half temple stands Brokeland When ex NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship Adding another layer of complication to the couples already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of fifteen year old Julius Jaffe s life An intimate epic, a NorCal Middlemarch set to the funky beat of classic vinyl soul jazz and pulsing with a virtuosic, pyrotechnical style all its own, Telegraph Avenue is the great American novel we ve been waiting for Generous, imaginative, funny, moving, thrilling, humane, triumphant, it is Michael Chabon s most dazzling book yet.. Good Book Telegraph Avenue This book drove me a little nuts. It's plot is overstuffed making the whole thing much too long. That wouldn't be such a bad thing if the language didn't irritate me so much. Chabon tries to be both hip and smart, while dealing with characters who seem to be lacking in both. I felt too often that I was reading an Elmore Leonard book written towards the Ivy League set. Elmore Leonard at least knows how to plot. The plot lacks punch and swiftness and I felt myself caring less and less as the book went along. It just ended up not being my bag.
Telegraph Avenue A Novel Chabon, Michael Telegraph Avenue is so exuberant, it s as if Michael Chabon has pulled joy from the air and squeezed it into the shape of words.His sentences spring, bounce, set off sparklers, even when dwelling in mundane details.Fantastic Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times Book Review Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon Telegraph Avenue, a strip of mostly hanging in there shops and a funeral parlour in Oakland, California, is home to Brokeland Records, a rare and secondhand vinyl record shop run by old friends, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe. Telegraph Avenue novel A Moorish Tudor fever dream is unveiled on Telegraph Avenue Feb , A Moorish Tudor fever dream is unveiled on Telegraph Avenue It s been described variously as a cave dwelling, a wizard s house, an Italian hill town, Petra and a Moorish palace It s been called