Joshua's Reviews > Telegraph Avenue

Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
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's review
Oct 25, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: read-in-2012
Read in October, 2012

Michael Chabon's latest is kind of a slight disappointment due to the fact of how talented I think he is when he's firing on all cylinders. Considering my love of music, I would have thought that TELEGRAPH AVENUE would be right in my sweet spot, but there were enough complaints that popped up as I read it to make it linger in the 3 star range for me. It's no Kavelier and Clay, but I'm not sure Chabon can rise to those glorious heights ever again.

My recent mantra of books being too long and lacking editing rears its ugly head again with this unfortunately. Chabon follows the actions of so many characters with separate interests, it would have been hard for him not to fall into this trap. There's just too much "stuff" going on that may have been remedied by cutting out entire passages when Chabon follows a lesser character. Chabon is also a big time culture-name-dropper in the book--he lists records [including record label and year of release], films, actors, directors, jazz musicians, rock musicians etc, etc way too much. Okay, you can name drop a lot of people, but it just gives the hint of list-making too much.

Another thing that bugged me was the overuse of the curse word "motherf*cker". It's not a word that is in my routine vocabulary even though I'm not about prude about its use [although I did just use an * to lessen the crudeness of this review] in a novel, but Chabon seems to try and get in one or two good "motherf*ckers" in every page when Archie and Nat are involved. I didn't take a star off this due to that small quibble, but it definitely irritated me. It's funny how one little thing like that can make you think ill thoughts of a book.

There you have it...good but not Chabon great. Maybe great if it was another writer but I expect great from Chabon, not good. Hence my slightly disappointed three stars here.

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