Lizzy Boden's Reviews > Telegraph Avenue

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
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Jun 29, 2012

it was ok
Read from June 29 to July 30, 2012

I wanted to like it. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is one of my favorite books of all time, and I went into this one with excitement and enthusiasm. Unfortunately, that only lasted about fifty pages. I shouldered through because I wanted to give Chabon the benefit of the doubt.

In the end, I think the novel could have been saved with some judicious editing. It should have been about a third shorter. Chabon lets his thoughts run away from him and while his many asides are beautifully written, they distract from the story in a way that is not pleasant. By the end of the book, they began to seem pretentious to me, like Chabon was so proud of his prose that he couldn't care less if it fit so long as you read how talented he is. The 12 page/one sentence chapter in the middle, which is written from the point of view of a parrot flying over Oakland, just about killed me. I was ready to throw the book across the train. Looking back, I'm not sure why I bothered to finish the book.

The characters should be better than they are-- all of Chabon's asides get in the way of their development as people, and I think Chabon was hoping that readers would see more motivation in them than he actually ever earned.

Do yourself a favor and read Kavalier and Clay again instead. Chabon might be great again one day, but he has to listen to a really good editor first.
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01/07 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Lizzy Boden Well, maybe two. I'm grumpy with it, I should let it settle in a few more days! Ha!

Dayna Kavalier and Clay is one of the finest books I've ever read but I just put this one down after about 70 pages and thought WTF!?

Cornell Lizzy! I agree with you one hundred percent. A character would say something, then Chabon would go on a rant, then two pages later you would get the response from the other character in the conversation. I had to just about ONLY read what was in quotes, in order to finish the book. I was very disappointed.

Stacey Mellus-whiting Totally agree...

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