Mike's Reviews > The Yiddish Policemen's Union

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
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's review
Jun 01, 09

bookshelves: general-fiction, scifi-fantasy
Read in May, 2009

This is the first novel I have read from Chabon. It won't be the last. He is an amazing wordsmith, using some classic, almost Shakespearean, wordplay combinations, peppering his writing with great dialogue and descriptive paragraphs.

And he is funny on both levels that count: Surface, obvious humor and subtle, thoughtful ironies.

The story follows the "what-if" genre, capsulized as: "What if the United States had offered the Jews of Europe a place to live in Alaska instead of Israel becoming a nation state, and what if the Holocaust had two million victims instead of six million, and what if the United States then decided in the year 2000 to take back the land they gave the Jews". That doesn't spoil the book. All of that is revealed in the first chapter.

This is classic book noir detective mystery with its plot. Raymond Chandler meets Dave Barry is the idea. I never really saw the ending coming and that appeals to me about any book. The language gets a bit raw, but it fits every scene it shows up. If you like books that contain humor, great characters, detective novels, fantasy or government conspiracy novels, this has the entire toolbox.
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