Saturday, January 10, 2009

Michael Benton: Michael Chabon's The Yiddish Policeman's Union (2007)

Chabon, Michael. The Yiddish Policeman's Union (Harper Collins: 2007) 4 stars

This was the first book I read by Chabon and I was impressed. He mines the noir sensibilities of Chandler, Hammet, et al, but makes it his own with a rich literate imagination of an alternate world in which there never was the creation of the nation-state Israel and a large percentage of post WWII Jewish refugees were resettled in the Alaska territories. The crisis of the book is set off on a small scale by the murder of a junky (with serious implications) and on a large scale by the impending eviction of the Jewsih settlement. The book resonates with the current Israeli/Gaza conflict and the American War on Terror. Like any good alternate-future/SF story, it is about the here-and-now.

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