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, a pair of semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed, between them, more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart - half tavern, half temple - stands Brokeland Records.
When ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in the United States, 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 15-year-old Julius Jaffe's life.
©2012 Michael Chabon (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
An absolutely fabulous novel! Charon sensitively, skillfully evokes a vivid cast of East Bay characters --dexterously entering into the point of view of each – evoking the rich humanity of all! The fresh language, sense of history and place, feel for the history of jazz, and grippiing storyline are a delight!
Up there with the very best of them
There were several very memorable moments when action and characters converge and the story seems to mesh. There was humor, sadness, pathos, suspense...everything that makes a good book
I think this narrator really made the book happen for me. He brought the characters to life and made them visible to the listener
I know the author is a master of words, so listening to his books works better for me than reading them.
Big Spender on Amazon
Telegraph Hill captures a time and place and the characters who live and exist there so completely that you forget you are listening to a piece of fiction. These people are so real, so varied in their life styles, manners and situations that Chabon has really created a world that those of us who live in a diverse world-demographically and philosophically-feel right at home. And if you are less fortunate and live in a highly homogeneous world of work and home, then you need to read this book to experience the richness that exists on Telegraph Avenue.
I adored Cavelier and Clay. I was so disappointed. I love Michael Chabon but not this time. I found the story tediously boastful. So much hipness that means nothing in the story. Pretentiously over written, one extreme simile after another. And the reader was awful. I don't think a good reader puts lots of emphasis and irony into the reading.
I love Michael Chabon's writing, and Telegraph Avenue merely fueled my opinion. Clarke Peters's top-notch delivery probably helped, but I frequently wished I had a paper copy of the text handy so I could share a particularly gorgeous excerpt with a friend, a student, or simply save it to reread and marvel over. The story is a daring and original amalgam of coming of age/revery/adventure/American classic/marriage hand book. . . Wow. The chapters told from the point of view of the 14 year old boys in which the moms are the enemies in their role-playing-samurai games are hysterical; even many of Chabon's throw away lines are remarkable for their original but effective writing. My one quibble, as with Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, is that Chabon's detailed descriptive eye falls on everything--and I don't really want/need to know the ins and outs (unfortunately, that is often literally true) of the characters' sexual activities. Personally, I am a believer in keeping certain parts of life private; practically, this kind of painstaking description makes it that much harder to use his novels in a high school classroom, which I'd love to do.
So: highly, highly recommended. Terrific reading and a terrific novel, but the subject matter can definitely veer into the R rated at times.
The narrator, definitely. Especially his swearing. Telegraph Avenue is one "motherf*cker"-enhanced audiobook, and this narrator really brings life & warmth to the humor & bravado & absurdity of Chabon's dialogues. Please, Audible: do whatever you can to make sure Clarke Peters reads us more books! He's 10,000 times more enjoyable to listen to than some of the uptight culture-heads who also do this work, and his acting is impeccable. Seriously: more Clarke Peters, please, and not just for books that feature Black characters. I'd listen to him do Dickens, Eugenides, whoever. He's great. And, oh yeah, Chabon's book is pretty good, too.
The characters are rich; the plot held my interest through all the twists and turns; the unique setting of the East Bay is perfectly captured in ways large and small; the descriptions of jazz are marvelous; the dark side of Oakland politics was portrayed better than any journalist has done. Clarke Peters' reading is so marvelous that I can't imagine just reading the book; my wife got used to me plugging my iPod into our stereo each evening saying "You've got to listen this this."
Writer, economist, stand-up comic
Story was not strong and at times confusing
Nostalgia and battle between modern and traditional, between old and young
Didn't breathe properly
Splendid use of different voices for each character.
More clear pronunciation of words.
A bit more vitality for the story.
No extreme reactions.
Novel has too many long intervals that provide little insight to ideas and make it too long.
I don't know - too many characters, he goes off on tangents. Nothing of interest so far. Nothing to keep my interest cause I can't follow the story, if there is one. Or is it just a bunch of characters? Entertainment Weekly gave it a B+ - fairly good review but I can't figure out a plot if there is one. I re-read the review to get some insight into what is supposed to be happening but I've given up. The only good thing - and it is great is Clarke Peters' narrative. His voice is very warm and sexy. I like to listen to him before bedtime because his voice is deep, soothing, and relaxing. I'll listen to it at night to help me sleep cause I really don't care about the story. When I was listening to it, I couldn't keep focused on it. One minute he's in present time, then he jumps to to the 70's then it's the midwives (they were at least interesting) and now it's back with the main character. I give up.
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