Edan's Reviews > The Yiddish Policemen's Union

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
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Dec 14, 08

Read in December, 2008

You know that fashion rule where, before you leave the house, you're supposed to quickly turn to a mirror and then take off the first accessory that catches your eye? Well, I feel like Chabon should have done that with his prose, which is sometimes so ridiculously overwritten and boastful that it ruined an otherwise pretty interesting story.

With some writers, I want them to put on another accessory or two--please, would some bangle bracelets kill you?--but with Chabon I'm like, Dude, before you show yourself to the world, could you please take off that top hat, and maybe that feather boa, and maybe that fake moustache, too? I'm not enjoying your outfit any longer; I'm merely distracted, and annoyed. Sometimes you don't need to describe the sky five different ways.

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Reading Progress

11/29/2008 page 30
7.3%
12/12/2008 page 368
89.54% "I must finish this today to plan the book club discussion on Sunday. I am sick of it..."
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Comments (showing 1-15 of 15) (15 new)

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message 1: by brian (last edited Dec 14, 2008 11:29PM) (new)

brian   funny and accurate, edan. perfect description of his style: too many damn accessories!


Edan Thanks, Brian!


Julia Glassman Ha! Well put.


Jessica I completely agree. His prose didn't bother me much in Kavalier & Clay, but here it was distracting at best.


Alexis P Indeed. I kept blaming myself for losing focus, but I knew it wasn't really my fault!


Alexander Lawrence Love it.


Edan Thanks!


message 8: by Matt (new) - added it

Matt Like the moment in 'Wonder Boys': "Even though your book is beautifully written, sometimes it's very... detailed... what with the geneology of everyone's horses..." Like Alexis said above, I wanted to blame myself for losing focus. Glad I'm not alone!


Rene my feelings exactly. way too rococo for me.


Chuck O'Connor Wow, I'm digging the genre and appreciate a writer who knows how to use style to entertain. Loving it and couldn't disagree more with this review.


message 11: by Edan (new) - rated it 2 stars

Edan I look forward to your review then, Chuck.


message 12: by sebby (new)

sebby I agree that this makes sense for most writers, but Chabon writes such incredible sentences that I'd make an exception for him.


Roberta G Love your comment. Still enjoyed the book greatly, though. To pick up on your analogy, YPU is like that aunt who studied art, married twice and is now single, travels to Indonesia, serves you weird vegan meals, and plays Leonard Cohen music while talking about early Margaret Atwood novels. In other words, often incongruent, necessarily flamboyant (she needs her eccentricities to be applauded), and loveable and necessary.


message 14: by Ezra (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ezra Farber I think the heavily stretched descriptions are a way of poking a little fun of that whole Noir detective genre, with the excessively verbose narrators. But in this case, the verbiage is gorgeous...


Nancy I LOVED the elaborate metaphors. I loved that they distracted me so I'd have to stop and think about them. Because the visual images they created were exactly right.


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