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The Yiddish Policemen's Union (Audio CD) (Unabridged)
The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Audio CD - Unabridged Author:Michael Chabon, Peter Riegert (Narrator) For sixty years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a temporary safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex fron... more »tier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end.
Homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. And in the cheap hotel where Landsman has washed up, someone has just committed a murder—right under his nose. When he begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy, word comes down from on high that the case is to be dropped immediately, and Landsman finds himself contending with all the powerful forces of faith, obsession, evil and salvation that are his heritage.
At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption, The Yiddish Policemen's Union is a novel only Michael Chabon could have written.
Keri S. (phdgirl17) reviewed The Yiddish Policemen's Union (Audio CD) (Unabridged) on
Helpful Score: 10
I absolutely loved Kavalier and Clay so I had high expectations for this latest Chabon book. It was good but not my favorite of his. I would recommend reading Kavalier and Clay before The Yiddish Policeman's Union. It was written in the police/murder mystery style a la Raymond Chandler. It was well written, as is anything by Chabon. The characters were well developed. But the style just didn't grab me as much.
An interesting look at Alaska if the real (yes, truly it was proposed) plan of resettling Jews in Alaska had occurred. I found it a bit hard to read as there was no glossary and use of a lot of Yiddish. Michael Chabon has a great way with words and there are some fantastic passages. The characters are well-developed, however, by and large I was disappointed with the plot and its resolution.
Are you kidding me? This book won the Nebula? This book won the Hugo? For starters, it's a stretch to categorize this as fantasy or science fiction. It's set in 2008 and technology is exactly the same as what we have available to us today. The only difference is an alternate history. The alteration is that land in Alaska, namely Baranof Island, is set aside as a temporary refugee settlement for Jews during WWII and Israel loses its battle for independence in 1948. So now, in 2008, Sitka is a thriving Jewish community. The main character is a homicide detective in Sitka and the story involves Jews, alcohol, chess and murder. The story, honestly, is quite boring. I fell asleep three times while reading this book. I never fall asleep while reading. The writing, however, was amazing! It was chock full of incredibly interesting and offbeat metaphors and similes. I haven't read any other books by Michael Chabon so I don't know if having a boring story is a recurring problem for him (although I've been told by a friend that it very well might be), but writing the way he does, if he could come up with an interesting story I'm convinced he could produce an amazing book. But this was not it.
I nearly gave up on this because it just wasn't grabbing me, but I kept plugging away in the hope that eventually I'd get as enthused as I was by Kavalier and Clay. But it never happened. The plot - an alternative history look at what might have happened had the post holocaust Jews been unable to settle in Israel after WWII and instead were granted temporary residence in Alaska -- was just far fetched enough to intrigue me. And I have to admit that the strange question of who killed the heroin addicted, gay potential Messiah and ex-wonder child who was also a chess prodigy hooked me once I got into it. But in the end the book just didn't deliver. And what's every bit as much of a mystery as the question about the son of the rabbi who was murdered in the flea-bitten hotel room he'd been living in is how on earth this novel could possibly have won two prestigious awards for science fiction writing!!