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V-2 into Space

Adam Mars-Jones: Michael Chabon, 2 March 2017

Moonglow 
by Michael Chabon.
HarperCollins, 448 pp., £18.99, January 2017, 978 0 00 754891 0
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... of the desk-bound and lionised, and J.M. Coetzee too showed signs of becoming a chronic case. Now Michael Chabon has produced Moonglow, supposedly based on conversations from 1989 between a writer called Michael Chabon and his dying grandfather, an engineer for whom space travel in general and rockets in ...

Sashimi with a Side of Fries

Adam Thirlwell: Michael Chabon, 16 August 2007

The Yiddish Policemen’s Union 
by Michael Chabon.
Fourth Estate, 414 pp., £17.99, June 2007, 978 0 00 715039 7
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... This is a miniature dictionary of the invented English in The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Michael Chabon’s charming, flawed and exhausting new novel: bik (Yiddish: bull) – doorman latke (Yiddish: potato cake) – 1. police cap 2. policeman noz (Yiddish: nose) – policeman shammes (Yiddish: assistant to rabbi, beadle) – policeman sholem (Yiddish: peace) – gun shoyfer (Yiddish: horn) – cell phone shtarker (Yiddish: strong man, strong arm) – gangster; hard man Yiddish, it turns out, has not said its last word: it is still involved in the business of coinages and slippages ...

Fancy Patter

Theo Tait: Holmes and the Holocaust, 31 March 2005

The Final Solution 
by Michael Chabon.
Fourth Estate, 127 pp., £10, February 2005, 0 00 719602 4
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... gangs as once I watched the criminal world of London.’ These few lines supply the background to Michael Chabon’s novella, which begins thirty years later on the South Downs. The main character is an ‘old man’, once a famous detective, now devoted to his bees. He remains unnamed throughout, but given that he wears an Inverness cape and hunting ...

I don’t want your revolution

Marco Roth: Jonathan Lethem, 20 February 2014

Dissident Gardens 
by Jonathan Lethem.
Cape, 366 pp., £18.99, January 2014, 978 0 224 09395 8
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... best-known practitioners – all men of the same generation, born in the mid to late 1960s – are Michael Chabon, Junot Díaz and Jonathan Lethem. The books they wrote were interested in popular culture or counterculture as much as in the thoughts and passions of characters. Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of ...

Just like Mother

Theo Tait: Richard Yates, 6 February 2003

Collected Stories 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 474 pp., £17.99, January 2002, 0 413 77125 3
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Revolutionary Road 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 346 pp., £6.99, February 2001, 0 413 75710 2
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The Easter Parade 
by Richard Yates.
Methuen, 226 pp., £10, January 2003, 0 413 77202 0
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... limited to a small but dedicated following among writers such as Richard Ford, Stewart O’Nan and Michael Chabon. This came ten years too late for Yates, who died of emphysema and complications following minor surgery in 1992. His fiction is closely modelled on his own experiences and, perhaps unsurprisingly, it is a miserable place. The Easter Parade ...

Did You Have Bombs?

Deborah Friedell: ‘The Other Elizabeth Taylor’, 6 August 2009

The Other Elizabeth Taylor 
by Nicola Beauman.
Persephone, 444 pp., £15, April 2009, 978 1 906462 10 9
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... spare, usually shorn of adverbs and adjectives, and her plots were similarly unencumbered. When Michael Chabon decries the tyranny of the ‘contemporary, quotidian, plotless, moment-of-truth revelatory short story – a.k.a. the New Yorker short story’, it’s Taylor who is probably to blame. She thought that dramatic situations were ...

Fried Fish

Thomas Chatterton Williams: Colson Whitehead, 17 November 2016

The Underground Railroad 
by Colson Whitehead.
Fleet, 320 pp., £14.99, October 2016, 978 0 7088 9839 0
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... seem easy. So why a slave novel now? I can only think of something the Jewish American writer Michael Chabon once said about his own writing: I felt I could bring it all together, that it would be OK. I could do whatever I wanted to do … and it would be OK even if it verged on crime fiction, even if it verged on magic realism, even if it verged on ...

Into the Eisenshpritz

Elif Batuman: Superheroes, 10 April 2008

Life, in Pictures: Autobiographical Stories 
by Will Eisner.
Norton, 493 pp., £18.99, November 2007, 978 0 393 06107 9
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Epileptic 
by David B..
Cape, 368 pp., £12.99, March 2006, 0 224 07920 4
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Shortcomings 
by Adrian Tomine.
Faber, 108 pp., £12.99, September 2007, 978 0 571 23329 8
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Misery Loves Comedy 
by Ivan Brunetti.
Fantagraphics, 172 pp., £15.99, April 2007, 978 1 56097 792 6
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... of Superman was published, in 1938, by two young American Jews, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster. As Michael Chabon wrote in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000), whose protagonists are loosely based on Siegel and Shuster: ‘Superman, you don’t think he’s Jewish? … Clark Kent, only a Jew would pick a name like that for ...

Kick over the Scenery

Stephanie Burt: Philip K. Dick, 3 July 2008

Four Novels of the 1960s: ‘The Man in the High Castle’, ‘The Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch’, ‘Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?’, ‘Ubik’ 
by Philip K. Dick.
Library of America, 830 pp., $35, May 2008, 978 1 59853 009 4
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Five Novels of the 1960s and 1970s: ‘Martian Time-Slip’, ‘Dr Bloodmoney’, ‘Now Wait for Last Year’, ‘Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said’, ‘A Scanner Darkly’ 
by Philip K. Dick.
Library of America, 1128 pp., $40, August 2008, 978 1 59853 025 4
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... Novelists with clear literary pedigrees now write SF regularly: Doris Lessing, Margaret Atwood, Michael Chabon, Kazuo Ishiguro. Authors who began inside the SF ghetto have found success outside it: J.G. Ballard as an author of realist novels, Samuel Delany in academia, William Gibson, Lethem himself (whose first books owed a lot to Dick). The sciences ...

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