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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  30,661 ratings  ·  3,528 reviews
In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother’s home in Oakland, California, to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon’s grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before ...more
Kindle Edition, 449 pages
Published November 22nd 2016 by Harper
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Matthew Liu-Picchietti Telegraph Avenue is really good. Moonglow is on the same level. Kavalier and Clay is so good that it will make you angry at other books you like for n…moreTelegraph Avenue is really good. Moonglow is on the same level. Kavalier and Clay is so good that it will make you angry at other books you like for not being better. Reading that book is like realizing the Matrix is real. Proceed with caution. And also enjoy.(less)
Faye Great book, but pretty ambitious for a 'typical' book club, based on length and complexity of the subject matter. But lots areas to explore if your bo…moreGreat book, but pretty ambitious for a 'typical' book club, based on length and complexity of the subject matter. But lots areas to explore if your book club's up for the challenge.(less)
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Michael Chabon pulls off a hybrid memoir and a contested fictional multigenerational family history peppered with anecdotes and stories from his heavily medicated grandfather on his deathbed. Chabon unashamedly states its fictional roots and perhaps questions the concept of a factual memoir, how much of a memoir can be said to be true when peoples' memories are notoriously unreliable? Can a memoir be free from an agenda? How much is the truth embellished to create a compelling life history? How ...more
Elyse  Walters
"'Moonglow' has been looked up 2315 times, is no one's favorite word yet, has been added to 3 lists, has 1 comment, and is not a valid SCRABBLE word".

Michael Chabon: I love your classy name - your books -and your wonderful talented -courageous wife: author Ayelet Waldman.
So before I begin my review I have a few things to say local boy!
I own every physical book - written - by 'both' Michael and Ayelet. --BAY AREA AUTHORS -- spotlight voices within the Jewish Community--- both bright - adorable
Angela M
Jun 28, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars

Michael Chabon has held a place in my literary heart ever since I read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and has insured that place with his latest book. Chabon's inspiration for the book were the stories his grandfather told while he was on pain killers and close to death. In his opening author's note, though he warns us that what we will soon be reading may not exactly be true.

" In preparing this memoir, I have stuck to the facts, except when facts refused to conform with me
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
"I see the hidden lovers, fates entangled like their bodies, waiting for release from the gravity that held them down all their lives."
- Michael Chabon, Moonglow


Fantastic. I needed to chew on this for a night, to stare at the moon, dream, and fantasize about what I really wanted to say -- and write my panegyric in a delicate space after the book.

First, I sometimes wonder if there is a genre Chabon can't master with his metaphors, his exuberance and his fantasy? At this point, he could write a b
Diane S ☔
Oct 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Memoir, fictional novel, exaggerations or just Chabon's musings, whichever way you choose to look at it, just know this book was written with a great deal of love. It shines through in the writing.
As his grandfather laid dying he shared stories of his life with his grandson. Let me tell you this man lived many different lives, tried to kill his boss, blow up a bridge, spent time in prison, worked for the space program designing model rockets and loved and married a woman with mental difficulties
Violet wells
Just as you sense some authors haven’t yet written their best book – Zadie Smith? - you feel others have already written their masterpiece and no matter how many more they write they will never quite top it. Nicole Krauss with The History of Love springs to mind. As does Chabon with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. I’d be amazed if he ever tops that. Moonglow doesn’t but nevertheless it is a thrilling and highly distinguished achievement.

First of all, think of your own favourite grand
4.5 Stars

Chabon’s Author’s Note at the beginning of Moonglow this states:
In preparing this memoir, I have stuck to facts except when facts refused to conform with memory, narrative purpose, or the truth as I prefer to understand it. Wherever liberties have been taken with names, dates, places, events, and conversations, or with the identities, motivations, and interrelationships of family members and historical personages, the reader is assured that they have been taken with due abandon.

Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I started Moonglow last week on a park bench, outside of my daughters' day camp, and by page 3, I knew, with total confidence, that as soon as I finished the book, I'd be reading it again.

By page 10, I was digging in my purse for my post-it notes and my pen, refusing to avert my eyes from the page to do so, pen cap in my mouth, scrawling Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse 5, and is Chabon the Philip Roth of Philadelphia?, and perhaps madness is caused by a person being unable to find their place in t
Sean Gibson
May 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Given the opportunity, and if I could work out the mechanics of it, I would do some things to Michael Chabon’s prose, things that would make Ron Jeremy and Jenna Jameson blush. Because that stuff is purty.

The hallmark of true greatness (and let’s call the requirements for greatness a combination of natural talent and aptitude, sweat equity, and single-minded devotion to craft) is making something exceedingly difficult look effortless (a little bit like how I make it look so easy to poke yoursel
Moonglow by Michael Chabon is a 2016 Harper publication.

I must admit, up front, that I’ve never read a book by this author. That is not to say I don’t have his books sitting on my shelves, or loaded onto my Kindle, because I do. However, I’ve never managed to get around to reading them.

My library was really pushing this book recently, so I placed a hold on it. Shockingly, few people were ahead of me, so I nabbed a copy almost immediately.

Having no idea what to expect, but hoping for something
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dimly Reflected Emotions

Sadly Gary Cooper never made a film with Vivien Leigh. But with a script like Moonglow, they couldn’t have avoided it. The omni-competent nice guy and the sexy but flakey European as his wife are parts made for them (the required French accent wouldn’t have been all that far from her role in A Streetcar Named Desire). With all the necessary schmaltz, Yiddish wit, and Holocaust sub-text, it would have been instant boffo - America as it once was and may be becoming again: p
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reads
"I'm disappointed in myself. In my life. All my life, everything I tried, I only got halfway there. You try to take advantage of the time you have. That's what they tell you to do. But when you're old, you look back and you see all you did with all that time is waste it. All you have is a story of things you never started or couldn't finish. Things you fought with all your heart to build that didn't last or fought with all your heart to get rid of and they're all still around. I'm ashamed of ...more
Chabon’s seventh novel was inspired by his maternal grandfather’s deathbed confessions in 1989—or was it? A tongue-in-cheek author’s note refers to this as a “memoir,” and it’s narrated by “Mike Chabon,” but he and “Grandfather” (never named) are characters here in the same way that Jonathan Safran Foer and his ancestors are in Everything Is Illuminated. Space travel and explosives are Grandfather’s lifelong obsessions. The chronology moves back and forth seemingly haphazardly, as if we are hear ...more
A Magnificent Chiaroscuro

We are as clouds that veil the midnight moon;
How restlessly they speed and gleam and quiver,
Streaking the darkness radiantly! yet soon
Night closes round, and they are lost for ever:--

"Mutability," Percy Bysshe Shelley

Moonglow, Michael Chabon's brilliantly constructed narrative, documents the narrator's conversations with his dying grandfather that travel back and forth between the grandfather on his deathbed and the story he's giving of his past.

This construct acc
Matthew Quann
Feb 06, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Memoir fans, literary
Shelves: chabon
This is my third book from Michael Chabon. Chabon never writes the same book twice, and each book has been terrific in its own way.

His endlessly celebrated—and one of my all-time favourite novels— The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay trades comic book shtick with political and societal upheaval while building some of the most memorable character moments I’ve ever read. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union , by contrast, is a gumshoe noir set in a fictional Jewish settlement in Alaska that coul
Sep 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Though this is billed as a memoir it reads like a riveting novel. It's surprising how a life can be organised into a watertight constellation where everything falls so neatly into the place. Aren't lives messy and disordered and unfinished? Chabon's grandparents though are a novelist's dream. The grandfather is an amateur rocket enthusiast. During the war he is part of a special operation tasked with finding the designer of the V2 rocket before the Russians get him. This is Wernher Von Braun. In ...more
Feb 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Like so many others, Michael Chabon won me over with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and this novel/memoir (?) looked to be infused with the same kinds of playfulness and seriousness. The opening promise that the author had 'stuck to facts except when facts refused to conform to memory, narrative purpose or the truth as I prefer to understand it' speaks so much to how we all construct our memories and especially the ways in which we relate them to others.

Bearing this in mind, the stor
Ron Charles
“Moonglow” is a wondrous book that celebrates the power of family bonds and the slipperiness of memory. Chabon suggests that it was written as an act of rebellion against his upbringing. “Keeping secrets was the family business,” he says, “but it was a business that none of us ever profited from.” His courage to break that code of silence was inspired by stories his dying grandfather told him more than 25 years ago. “His fetish for self-reliance made him secretive,” Chabon says, but their final ...more
Brandon Forsyth
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every so often, there comes a book that is so heartbreakingly real and so stylistically accomplished that it makes you feel like you're never going to pick up another book again, because what would be the point? Then there are those times when a book so sparks you with a love of narrative and of your fellow people, that you want to rush out and just smother yourself in stories. Michael Chabon's latest is, somehow, both of these. Easily my favourite book of the year. ...more
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is my first experience reading Michael Chabon. It won't be the last. This work has captivated me for the past week as I moved from story to story with "Mike" as his grandfather related the experiences of his lifetime. The whole notion of a fictionalized autobiography left me rather cold before reading Moonglow. Now I'm a convert...I believe that a truly skilled writer can inspire me, thrill me, using unexpected literary combinations....especially when they are filled with the obvious love t ...more
Update - great interview explaining the fiction

“The girl’s lips were painted red as Bicycle hearts and diamonds, and they parted to reveal an Ingrid Bergman smile to go with the sunglasses. My grandfather heard a sound inside his head that he compared, years later, to the freight-train rumble of an earthquake. He felt he was standing in the path of something fast-moving and gigantic that, in its blindness, was bound to carry him away. Swept off his feet
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I started this one and then set it aside, uncertain if I felt like finishing it. I lugged it to Baltimore with me, knowing I would likely not have time to read it, because some of it is set there.

This is a novel about family memory and legacy, and goes back and forth between a somewhat fictional "Mike" interviewing his grandfather on his death bed and scenes in the history of his grandfather's life. Sometimes it feels like Gravity's Rainbow fanfic, especially all the V-2 bits. And I'm not sure
Jan 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Grandfather's deathbed confessions: the type of stuff REAL authors take on. Classy, refined...autobiographical and therefore affecting. But early on Chabon mentions that yup, this is A NOVEL. The protagonist's grandkid is the writer, so this is second hand, but has a hint of fiction. But where is it? What is the ruse in this novel that is more of an extended multi-part anecdote, in fact, than a contrived, or classical, plot? "Moonglow" is bouncy; it is fluidly told with great confidence. Dude's ...more
Sep 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes I finish a book, and I loved it, but I feel too puny a mind to say anything to do it justice. I just am not learned enough, wise enough, deep enough. I am at a loss for words.

Moonglow by Michael Chabon sat on my Edelweiss shelf for 45 days until I could finally make a space to read it, read 'out of order', as I read based on a book's publication date.

I have enjoyed all the novels I've read by Chabon: The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, The Wonder Boys, and The Yiddish Policeman's Union. I ha
Mar 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Now the fields are all four lanes,
and the moon's not just a name.
Are you more amazed at how things change,
Or how they stay the same?

A young man gets to know his grandfather during the last ten days of the old-man's life. Share in this death-bed confession by a fascinating individual who lived well, and loved passionately. His life story is an interesting read, that occasionally seems overstuffed, yet I can't imagine what could have been edited away.

A rollicking tale, well told.

*75 Septembers b
Adam Dalva
Jan 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chabon's skill on the line-level, that cascade of perfect, idiosyncratic sentences, has never left him, but his iffy choices of subject matter over the last 15 years has rendered him somewhat invisible. (Though his Spiderman 2 is the secret high-point of the superhero movie era). This fade into the background of literature is the hazard of the mid-career artist, but after reading his wonderful essay about his son at Paris fashion week (, I pre-ordered MOO ...more
Roger Brunyate
Brilliant . . . so what's my problem?
In preparing this memoir, I have stuck to facts except when facts refused to confirm with memory, narrative purpose, or the truth as I prefer to understand it. Whatever liberties have been taken with names, dates, places, events, and conversations, or with identities, motivations, and interrelationships of family members and historical personages, the reader is assured that they have been taken with due abandon.
What a brilliant Author's Note! Moonglow ma
Harry Remer
I've adored and championed Michael Chabon's books since away back in the '80s, with Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Like him, I'm an intellectual Jew, born within a year of him, and with many of the same cultural references. For years, he was to me what Phillip Roth was for my father: a funhouse mirror of my times and fascinations, as well as a lens through which to freshly grasp history and world events.

Most of all, he was just plain fun to read. Like, teary-eyed, breathlessly fun.

That peaked with Th
Book Riot Community
The powerful driving force of Chabon’s new novel is the deathbed confessions of the narrator’s grandfather. Revealing the pains and surprises caused by secrets, lies, and war, Moonglow is a rich examination of a family history built on hidden truths, an emotional love story, and a fantastic work of autobiographical family history-turned-novel. (The novel is based on Chabon’s own grandfather’s stories.)

Backlist bump: Manhood for Amateurs: The Pleasures and Regrets of a Husband, Father, and Son by
Connie G
During his last days of life, the narrator's grandfather tells his life story to his grandson. He had not been forthcoming earlier about his adventures, disappointments, secrets, and love, but his inhibitions were lowered under the influence of pain medication. His grandfather was an engineer with a love of rockets in the space program as well as scale models. From his military service in the war, he also has memories of the liberation of the German concentration camp at Nordhausen where the V2 ...more
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The Blender Book ...: November 2019 - Moonglow 10 13 Nov 20, 2019 03:38PM  
South Shore Readers: Discussion: Moonglow 8 62 May 01, 2017 02:08PM  

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Michael Chabon (b. 1963) is an acclaimed and bestselling author whose works include the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000). Chabon achieved literary fame at age twenty-four with his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988), which was a major critical and commercial success. He then published Wonder Boys (1995), another bestseller, which was made in ...more

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Why not focus on some serious family drama? Not yours, of course, but a fictional family whose story you can follow through the generations of...
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