Telegraph Avenue is a major commercial thoroughfare in a minor California city. It is also the setting of Michael Chabon's brilliant slice in the life of Archie, the half-owner of a used record store, struggling with impending fatherhood, and Gwen, his wife, a fast-talking, hormonally-challenged midwife, who is determined to have her baby with him, or without him, and to salvage her career after an unfortunate encounter with a smug physician. Two of the many people who complicate their struggles are Archie's estranged father, a minor film star from the 1970's and a recovering addict, clamoring for forgiveness, and Archie's illegitimate teenage son, Titus, desperate for a Dad, even one as ambivalent as Archie. Chabon takes on a lot in this sprawling celebration of life in an American city in the throes of reinvention. He conjures up unforgettable, lyrical descriptions of a time and place and offers a template for renewal-both urban and personal- which factors in both individual and collective responsibility. The book cover calls it an intimate epic, bursting with joy and humor, that is as profound as it is magical. I agree.