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Telegraph Avenue: A Novel | [Michael Chabon]

Telegraph Avenue: A Novel

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.4 (354 )
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4.0 (294 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    William McGinnis NYACK, NEW YORK, US 05-10-15
    William McGinnis NYACK, NEW YORK, US 05-10-15 Member Since 2015
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    "A Wonderful, Powerful East Bay Epic"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Susana Ojai, CA, United States 04-25-15
    Susana Ojai, CA, United States 04-25-15 Member Since 2005

    I like edgy, offbeat books. All of my audiobooks are mysteries because I listen in the car. I prefer to read more literary works.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Amazing assortment of characters"
    Where does Telegraph Avenue rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    Up there with the very best of them


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Telegraph Avenue?

    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


    What about Clarke Peters’s performance did you like?

    I think this narrator really made the book happen for me. He brought the characters to life and made them visible to the listener


    If you could rename Telegraph Avenue, what would you call it?

    Brokeland.


    Any additional comments?

    I know the author is a master of words, so listening to his books works better for me than reading them.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Dben9 MORENO VALLEY, CA, United States 11-18-14
    Dben9 MORENO VALLEY, CA, United States 11-18-14 Member Since 2013

    Big Spender on Amazon

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    "An engrossing story by a highly literate author"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mrs. Mina Philadelphia 07-15-14
    Mrs. Mina Philadelphia 07-15-14
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    47
    7
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    Story
    "Awful!"
    Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

    No


    Would you ever listen to anything by Michael Chabon again?

    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.


    Would you be willing to try another one of Clarke Peters’s performances?

    No


    Do you think Telegraph Avenue needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

    Never!


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Rebecca J. Leamon Ellsworth, ME United States 05-11-13
    Rebecca J. Leamon Ellsworth, ME United States 05-11-13 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An incredibly written and read story!"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    J. Puttgen Sewanee, TN 03-09-13
    J. Puttgen Sewanee, TN 03-09-13 Member Since 2014

    mustaphasaurus

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "I could listen to this narrator all day, everyday"
    What made the experience of listening to Telegraph Avenue the most enjoyable?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    HamIAm California 10-30-12
    HamIAm California 10-30-12 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An extraordinary novel, perfectly read."
    What made the experience of listening to Telegraph Avenue the most enjoyable?

    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."


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark Brooklyn, NY, United States 10-29-12
    Mark Brooklyn, NY, United States 10-29-12 Member Since 2002

    Writer, economist, stand-up comic

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    "Not up to Chabon standards"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    Story was not strong and at times confusing


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    Nostalgia and battle between modern and traditional, between old and young


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    Didn't breathe properly


    Was Telegraph Avenue worth the listening time?

    Not really


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elliott Palo Alto, CA, United States 10-08-12
    Elliott Palo Alto, CA, United States 10-08-12 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Telegraph Avenue"
    What made the experience of listening to Telegraph Avenue the most enjoyable?

    Splendid use of different voices for each character.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    More clear pronunciation of words.


    What does Clarke Peters bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    A bit more vitality for the story.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No extreme reactions.


    Any additional comments?

    Novel has too many long intervals that provide little insight to ideas and make it too long.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Cynthia 09-16-12
    Cynthia 09-16-12
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Messy Story"

    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.

    7 of 21 people found this review helpful

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