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!
  • Is Twitter Israel's new worst enemy?
  • More than 50 former Israeli soldiers have refused to serve in the current ground operation in #Gaza.
  • "My wife and I are both half-Jewish. Both of us very much felt and feel American first and Jewish second. We are currently debating whether we should send our daughter to a Jewish pre-K and kindergarten program or to a public one. Pros? Give her a Jewish community and identity that she could build on throughout her life. Cons? Costs a lot of money; She will enter school with the idea that being Jewish makes her different somehow instead of something that you do after or in addition to regular school. Maybe a Shabbat sing-along would be enough?"
  • Undeterred by the conflict, 24 Jews participated in the first ever Jewish National Fund— JDate singles trip to Israel. Translation: Jews age 30 to 45 travelled to Israel to get it on in the sun, with a side of hummus.
  • "It pains and shocks me to say this, but here goes: My father was right all along. He always told me, as I spouted liberal talking points at the Shabbos table and challenged his hawkish views on Israel and the Palestinians to his unending chagrin, that I would one day change my tune." Have you had a similar experience?
  • "'What’s this, mommy?' she asked, while pulling at the purple sleeve to unwrap this mysterious little gift mom keeps hidden in the inside pocket of her bag. Oh boy, how do I answer?"
  • "I fear that we are witnessing the end of politics in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. I see no possibility for resolution right now. I look into the future and see only a void." What do you think?
  • Not a gazillionaire? Take the "poor door."
  • "We will do what we must to protect our people. We have that right. We are not less deserving of life and quiet than anyone else. No more apologies."
  • "Woody Allen should have quit while he was ahead." Ezra Glinter's review of "Magic in the Moonlight": http://jd.fo/f4Q1Q
  • Jon Stewart responds to his critics: “Look, obviously there are many strong opinions on this. But just merely mentioning Israel or questioning in any way the effectiveness or humanity of Israel’s policies is not the same thing as being pro-Hamas.”
  • "My bat mitzvah party took place in our living room. There were only a few Jewish kids there, and only one from my Sunday school class. She sat in the corner, wearing the right clothes, asking her mom when they could go." The latest in our Promised Lands series — what state should we visit next?
  • Former Israeli National Security Advisor Yaakov Amidror: “A cease-fire will mean that anytime Hamas wants to fight it can. Occupation of Gaza will bring longer-term quiet, but the price will be very high.” What do you think?
  • Should couples sign a pre-pregnancy contract, outlining how caring for the infant will be equally divided between the two parties involved? Just think of it as a ketubah for expectant parents:
  • Many #Israelis can't make it to bomb shelters in time. One of them is Amos Oz.
  • 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.