The Forward 50

Michael Chabon

Culture

Michael Chabon

The Forward 50

It had been too long since Michael Chabon, 49, one of his generation’s most gifted prose stylists, set his sights on contemporary America. Chabon’s most recent full-length novels had seen the author exploring the lives of comic book artists in the 1940s (Pulitzer Prize–winner “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay”) and an alternative Jewish homeland in Alaska (2007’s “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union”).

Shorter works such as “The Final Solution” and “Gentlemen of the Road” were delightful exercises in period genre fiction, while the film “John Carter,” released earlier this year, for which Chabon co-wrote the screenplay, allowed the author to indulge his fancy for the pulp novels and speculative fiction of Edgar Rice Burroughs. His mastery of genres has been dizzying, and yet it was a refreshing change of pace to see Chabon writing about the 21st century with such effervescence and authority in “Telegraph Avenue,” a sprawling novel about gentrification, music and two couples — one African-American, one Jewish.

In his review for the Forward, Rich Cohen wrote that “Telegraph Avenue” is “one of those rare gems that seem to include an entire world. Its back-story is everything that ever happened to you, all those afternoons watching reruns on TV, the terrible need you felt to understand and be cool, the compromises you made after college.”

Might this herald the permanent return of Chabon to present-day culture? Probably not. His next project is an HBO show, tentatively called “Hobgoblin,” about con men and magicians trying to outwit Nazis during World War II.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What's it like to be Chagall's granddaughter?
  • Is pot kosher for Passover. The rabbis say no, especially for Ashkenazi Jews. And it doesn't matter if its the unofficial Pot Day of April 20.
  • A Ukrainian rabbi says he thinks the leaflets ordering Jews in restive Donetsk to 'register' were a hoax. But the disturbing story still won't die.
  • Some snacks to help you get through the second half of Passover.
  • You wouldn't think that a Soviet-Jewish immigrant would find much in common with Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But the famed novelist once helped one man find his first love. http://jd.fo/f3JiS
  • Can you relate?
  • The Forverts' "Bintel Brief" advice column ran for more than 65 years. Now it's getting a second life — as a cartoon.
  • Half of this Hillel's members believe Jesus was the Messiah.
  • Vinyl isn't just for hipsters and hippies. Israeli photographer Eilan Paz documents the most astonishing record collections from around the world:http://jd.fo/g3IyM
  • Could Spider-Man be Jewish? Andrew Garfield thinks so.
  • Most tasteless video ever? A new video shows Jesus Christ dying at Auschwitz.
  • "It’s the smell that hits me first — musty, almost sweet, emanating from the green felt that cradles each piece of silver cutlery in its own place." Only one week left to submit! Tell us the story of your family's Jewish heirloom.
  • Mazel tov to Chelsea Clinton and Marc Mezvinsky!
  • If it's true, it's pretty terrifying news.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.