Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

I like books that start with a historical event, change something about it, and then build a story from it.  This book is based on the premise that Jewish refugees created a temporary safe haven in the Federal District of Sitka, Alaska, after the Holocaust and the collapse of Israel in 1948.  Now, 60 years later, the District will be reverting to Alaskan control.

Meyer Landsman is a homicide detective whose life is a mess. He and his partner, Berko Shemets, have quite a few unsolved cases they are trying to wrap up before Reversion.  And to make matters worse, a murder occurred in the fleabag hotel in which Landsman currently lives.  The story was interesting and enjoyable enough, but it was overwritten.  There is a review on Goodreads that puts it very succinctly:

"You know that fashion rule where, before you leave the house, you're supposed to quickly turn to a mirror and then take off the first accessory that catches your eye? Well, I feel like Chabon should have done that with his prose, which is sometimes so ridiculously overwritten and boastful that it ruined an otherwise pretty interesting story."  Edan Lepucki

Overall, I rated it 3 out of 5.

1 comment:

Kathy A. Johnson said...

I've tried to read Michael Chabon before (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay) and just couldn't get into him. I thought this one sounded more interesting, but after reading your review I wonder. I'll probably eventually pick it up to see for myself, but I'm not in a hurry!