Wednesday, October 31, 2007

tough shammes, my sweetness

Just finished Michael Chabon's new novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union. It may be the best book I read all summer. That is to say, I can pretty much count summer out at this point, October 31, now that I've read such a fine and satisfying book. It concerns a hard-boiled homicide cop in the Sitka District, a Jewish settlement in Alaska, named Meyer Landsman. On the eve of Sitka's repatriation to the USA (not the literal eve, mind you, more like 2 months off), bringing with it the threat of grand displacement, a man is murdered in the same SRO hotel that Landsman lives in.
A breakneck, Chabon-sized adventure follows in a noirish style full of visceral prose and unfulfilled dreams. It's not quite as grand as The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, but in some ways, it's more fun. While there are a few scenes of heartbreak and loss, it's nowhere near as devastating as the end of the second act of Kav & Clay.
I thought maybe I was reaching when I immediately drew a connection between Detective Meyer Landsman of TYDU and Detective Jay Landsman of Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets by David Simon (who, it should be noted, mutated into John Munch on Homicide: Life on the Street) (sadly, Wikipedia says that Munch has now appeared in more episodes of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit than H: LOTS). But I've just now learned that Chabon spent much of his youth in a suburb of Baltimore, that city of my dreams. So maybe there is a connection there, and according to THE INTERNET, I'm the only one who realizes it (aside from CHABON, of course).
Next up is Knots and Crosses, Ian Rankin's first Rebus book.

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