I've read (not listened to) all of Chabon's novels and this one, while enjoyable, just seems like him in a minor key. Story takes a while to get started and once it does never seems to take off. (This is odd since there is a long set piece taking place in a dirigible with a night club attached.)
Also, the story, while amusing, just didn't seem to have the depth of his best ones. I got through it but just barely.
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.
Addicted to Audio Books......
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.