By: Michael Chabon
Call #: Fiction Chabo.M
Highly acclaimed author Chabon can certainly turn a phrase, stretch out a cliff hanger escapade, and craft a metaphor that tips into the poetic. I wish he had restrained himself a bit in this semi-autobiographical novelization of his fascinating and enigmatic grandfather. The book could have been a good 25% shorter. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the grandfather’s tales of his colorful life he relates on his deathbed to his adult grandson. It’s a life filled with adventure (WWII special ops), occasional rage-filled reactions that alter the course of his life in great ways, deep but conflicted love, many careers, and an obsession with all things relating to rocketry and space flight. Chabon’s skill is also apparent in how well he limns his characters when he delves into the lives of his glamorous, secretive grandmother and his own mother, the victim of a chaotic and unhappy childhood. How much of this is true is unclear, which is why Chabon’s book is a novel, not a memoir.