For 60 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 frontier 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.
©2007 Michael Chabon (P)2016 HarperCollins Publishers
I loved this book. Chabon's phrasing and descriptive written make me want to write again. While reading this book I found myself looking at the world around me and trying to describe it they way Chabon describes the world he creates in Sitka. I will be looking for more novels by Michael Chabon.
Practicing Idealist, Dabbling Realist ;)
Well, this was different. And fun. The writing is excellent, the plot nice and twisty, and the characters 3-D. The author expected the reader to figure things out and didn't serve up new words on a silver tray with definitions. The narrator did a great job.
My only complaint is that someone producing the audio book didn't care enough to do a good job and listen to it and then fix spots where the audio skipped, or repeated or jittered, and they even stuck a bit of music right in the middle of a conversation and not as a transition between chapters.
With such great writing and performance the sloppy editing or production is more noticeable.
The bonus interview of Michael Chabon attached at the end was fun too and is appreciated.
I'm a forensic psychologist living in Portsmouth NH.
This is an amazing book about an alternative future in which Jews are settled temporarily in the area of Sitka Alaska. Imagine Raymond Chandler meets Shalom Aleichem. Peter Riegert does a great job with the narration , an audio book classic.
My only complaints are a few spots where the recording skips or cuts out for a second or two and the odd placement of the short music bit. Otherwise, I loved it.
story was great, narrator was good. but there were oddly placed music interludes that would sometimes start mid sentence and not mark any real transition in the book. I found them disruptive
I loved this book - the characters, the story, the alternative history, and the "wild west" feel of Chabon's Alaska.
Chabon creates this entire world, populated with people, places, foods, smells, an unsolvable chess gambit... and just enough magic to keep you eager to unravel the mystery.
The performance, reading, was top notch, but there were odd breaks with music in the midst of some chapters, breaking up the flow and crashing through the setting to bring me back to my living room. I don't know why those were included, but they are the reason for my <5 star score.
Love books of all kind, especially well developed characters.
Michael Chabon tells a totally believable detective story about a Jewish community in Alaska. It is told with humour - under current. I especially loved the part where our hero is dashing across the freezing cold Alaskan countryside driving a snow (I'll say) scooter in his underwear. It reminds me of the movie Fargo . Totally different characters and story, but written with the Jewish view point and character. I would love to see this book made into a movie.
The narrator, Peter Riegert was fantastic. I would easily listen to another book narrated by him. It would also be great if they did this book as a movie that he would cast as one of the actors.
I also enjoyed listening to the author's interview at the end about writing this book. It was most interesting to listen to his process. I hope he writes a second book about these Jews in Alaska. I am from Northwestern Ontario, so I got the cold and the animals and the moose dishes. Great Book!!!!
I approached this book after reading and enjoying Summerland last year. I really enjoyed this second foray into Chabon's writing.
I was put off by the audio production choice to use music at random intervals throughout the book. I could find no rhyme of reason to when the music played--sometimes between chapters, sometimes in the middle. Also, the style of music--a groovy rock electric guitar--added nothing to the story and seemed out of place. There's a wonderful source of style in Jewish music and in Native Alaskan music, either of which would have been appropriate to the content of the story. Finally, the audio level of the music was high enough that it was difficult to hear the reader as the music played over his voice.
Report Inappropriate Content