The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon
read December 8, 2009 through December 10, 2009
Premise: In an alternate history where Israel was squelched in its beginnings and most Jews ended up in a relocation encampment in Alaska, a screwed-up Jew homicide detective investigates the braided complexities of a murder in his own hotel-of-residence. This leads him all through the religious politics and social tensions of the world that he inhabits, as well as colliding once more with his ex-wife—his superior at work.
Verdict: Marvelously written.
It was slow at first and I had trouble getting into it but that might have been because I was sleep deprived and vaguely ill. By the time I was finished I actually believed the world of the novel was the world I was living in and felt disoriented when the book ended. The Chabon’s style is alive and vibrant to the point of crystal bright sharpness. This book is brilliance. The writing is great. The murder mystery part is compelling. The politics and the alternate world are well-formed, convincing, and engrossing.
Kick up your heels and spend a day or two reading this one.