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Telegraph Avenue [sound recording] : [a novel]
Chabon, Michael.
Adult Fiction CHABON

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Virtuosity" is the word most commonly associated with Chabon, and if Telegraph Avenue, the latest from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Yiddish Policeman's Union, is at first glance less conceptual than its predecessors, the sentences are no less remarkable. Set during the Bush/Kerry election, in Chabon's home of Berkeley, Calif., it follows the flagging fortunes of Brokeland Records, a vintage record store on the titular block run by Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe, currently threatened with closure by Pittsburgh Steeler's quarterback-turned-entrepreneur Gibson "G Bad" Goode's plans to "restore, at a stroke, the commercial heart of a black neighborhood" with one of his Dogpile "Thang" emporiums. The community mobilizes and confronts this challenge to the relative racial harmony enjoyed by the white Jaffe; his gay Tarantino-enthusiast son, Julie; and the African-American Archy, whose partner, Gwen Shanks, is not only pregnant but finds the midwife business she runs with Aviva, Jaffe's wife, in legal trouble following a botched delivery. Making matters worse is Stallings's father, Luther, a faded blaxploitation movie star with a Black Panther past, and the appearance of Titus, the son Archy didn't know he had. All the elements of a socially progressive contemporary novel are in place, but Chabon's preference for retro-the reader is seldom a page away from a reference to Marvel comics, kung fu movies, or a coveted piece of '70s vinyl-quickly wears out its welcome. Worse, Chabon's approach to race is surprisingly short on nuance and marred by a goofy cameo from a certain charismatic senator from Illinois. 15-city author tour. Agent: Mary Evans. (Sept. 11) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

If any novelist can pack the entire American zeitgeist into 500 pages, it's Chabon (The Yiddish Policeman's Union). Here, he deftly treads race, class, gender, and generation lines, showing how they continue to define us even as they're crossed. In 2004, in an enclave bordered by Berkeley and Oakland, Brokeland Records sells used vinyl records and serves as the de facto community center. The owners are Archy Stallings, totally down on his dad, once a blaxploitation star, and earnest, Jewish Nat Jaffe. Their wives are Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, the Berkeley Birth Partners, renowned local midwives. All's well until former NFL quarterback Gibson Goode threatens to build a megastore nearby, effectively shuttering Brokeland but promising jobs in a poor, mostly black neighborhood. Meanwhile, a complicated delivery causes trouble for the Birth Partners. And that's only a tiny sampling of what happens in this prodigious novel. VERDICT Ambitious, densely written, sometimes very funny, and fabulously over the top, here's a rare book that really could be the great American novel. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 3/5/12.]-Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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