Oct 03, 12
A tough one to review. If you have read Kavalier and Klay, then you need to know this one is not as good as that one. It is however, considerably more engaging than the Yiddish Policeman's Union.
On the upside, the writing is absolutely stellar. HIs descriptions of the Bay Area, and the denizens of the borderlands of Oakland and Berkeley are gorgeous. There are many characters, among the most important are two couples the husbands of which run a record store and the wives of which run a midwife business. Numerous fault lines shake the characters, including racial identity, parental responsibility, and the ability of local business to survive in the face of corporate power. The various plotlines are well interwoven and maintain interests. Nerds of many stripes will appreciate the many genre references made throughout the book.
On the downside, the story slowly loses steam and ends without the emotional drama of Kavalier and Klay. It did not feel like a cop-out ending or one that hid from the story, but nonetheless did not seem to have the right heft.
So, it's a great ride, just not the one that I hoped to find.