Nancy's Reviews > The Yiddish Policemen's Union

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
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's review
Apr 17, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: favorite, 2009
Read in April, 2009

Thanks, Jackie! No book since Oscar Wao has given me this much delight. I had no idea at the beginning I would fall in love with it. It's a detective story in noir style: "She looked like hell, but hotter." I'm not particularly a crime fiction fan. But in the end it's a magical story with love and redemption despite the grim events. The author imagines a world where Israel never happened, and post-war Jews were settled in Alaska, instead. In Sitka, an actual town, but fictionally populated with Yiddish-speaking Jews with their own gangsters and police force and slang, and everyone seems to play chess. But the story enters at the end of their tenure - the land is about to revert back to the United States. There is a lot of verbal play and humor, Yiddish words along with slang the author invented, like a "sholem" (peace) for a gun (a piece). From about a quarter of the way in, I loved every minute of it.

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