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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Beyond Noir

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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story and voice but what's with the music?

I love the story and the narrator was perfect. The only thing that struck me as odd the whole time I was listening was the addition of music introducing certain chapters. The music felt out of place for style and was allowed to play under the narration for the first sentence or two of each chapter which was really really strange. Other than that strange stylistic choice, it was great.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Susan
  • Winnipeg, MB, Canada
  • 09-16-16

Totally hooked

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!!!!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

I'd prefer reading this

I love listening to books, but I do other things while I listen. This book has such rich prose and so much information in each sentence that I found I was missing too much by listening. It helped to find a synopsis, but even then it was challenging to follow. I'm a visual learner, so think I would have done fine if I'd actually read it instead of listening. I liked it, and do plan to read it at some point. The narrator definitely evokes a classic detective story, almost to the point of parody. It reminded me a little of Garrison Keillor's Guy Noir.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Diana
  • Antelope Valley, CA, United States
  • 08-18-16

Beautifully written, loved the descriptive visuals

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.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book, great narration

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.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, great narrator

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.

7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great narration, alternative history meets noir

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

His gruff delivery is perfect for the hard-boiled, ever suffering detective. Classic.

Any additional comments?

A really engaging combination of alternative history and hard-boiled classic noir. In Chabon's imaginings, the Jewish diaspora is offered refuge in Sitka, Alaska, but that refuge is limited in space and in duration. Their 50 year dispensation is coming to an end and the Sitka District is soon to revert to the American government. With two months left until Reversion, we see Sitka through the eyes of Dectective Meyer Landsman. Landsman is, in the great tradition of noir, worse for wear, a functioning alcoholic, and divorced. He chews scenery with the best of them, and the dialog comes hard and fast. Here, they mystery surrounds a murdered heroin addict who lives in the same crappy, run down hotel that Landsman inhabits. But the heroin addict is more than he seems and the trail to his killer uncovers deeper plots and machinations. Chabon mixes in more than a few metaphors that will tickle the fancy of hard-boiled buffs, and the convoluted nature of the eventual solution can be forgiven because the ride to get there (full of colorful characters, cutting insight into the historical plight of the Jews, and clever details about what a Jewish enclave in Alaska might look like) is so incredibly diverting.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Bliss!

This book is a joy to read...hearing Chabon's eloquent, juicy prose is, somehow, even better!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great story, love the performance

Highly recommended, although there are A few recording errors that have yet to be fixed.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful