Siria's Reviews > The Yiddish Policemen's Union

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
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's review
Oct 13, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: 21st-century, alternate-history, american-fiction
Read in October, 2008

Really interesting, darkly amusing and sharply written, The Yiddish Policemen's Union asks what would have happened if a plan proposed to Roosevelt in 1939 had been accepted: if millions of Jewish people from central and eastern Europe had been transplanted not to Israel, but to a narrow strip of land in Alaska, rescued from the horrors of the Holocaust and Yiddish/Jewish culture had continued to thrive. Chabon extrapolates out from that proposition, using it to spin out a murder mystery of great complexity. It didn't quite draw me in as much as The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay—though I think this is the more tightly written of the two, with some astonishingly deft prose, and a really fantastic evocation of atmosphere and environment—probably because I'm just not a huge fan of noirs. The explanations for what's going on become increasingly convoluted as the novel progresses, and the climax... well, I think it would have benefited from a little pruning and a lot more subtlety. His female character(s) are better in this, also, than in Kavalier and Clay, but I think they could do with some extra attention.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Shannon (Giraffe Days) I love Chabon and I've been looking forward to reading this since it came out, even though I didn't know what it was about! (such is my faith in Chabon!) I honestly don't know when I'll find the time but after reading your review I wish I could pick it up right now :)

Siria It's a great read! I'm sure you'll enjoy it :)

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