This is a biographical account of six survivors from the bombing of Hiroshima.
What I remember about this book was the detail with which Hersey depicteThis is a biographical account of six survivors from the bombing of Hiroshima.
What I remember about this book was the detail with which Hersey depicted how the radiation from the atomic bomb caused people's skin to fall off, eyes to melt, and the excruciating pain the victims felt. This was one of the few historical biographies I have read and "enjoyed", though there is nothing enjoyable about the devastation the book describes. This may have been one of the first books I read that taught me history could be interesting and horrifying so long as the author puts feeling into the work....more
Blankets is an autobiographical type novel about the coming of age of Craig Thompson in a very conservative Christian household. It is a story that maBlankets is an autobiographical type novel about the coming of age of Craig Thompson in a very conservative Christian household. It is a story that many a reader can relate to.
What is interesting about this novel, however, is that it is a graphic novel. It is the first of its kind I have read, and I think I may end up reading more of these types. As a writer, I have learned that there is another way to tell a story that is just as engaging and perhaps even more emotional than reading a regular novel. I also feel that writing an autobiography or memoir in this particular form makes the story much more readable and less boring....more
Michael Chabon The Yiddish Policemen's Union Harper Collins 2007
Michael Chabon, given the Pulitzer Prize for his novel “The Amazing Adventures of KavaliMichael Chabon The Yiddish Policemen's Union Harper Collins 2007
Michael Chabon, given the Pulitzer Prize for his novel “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay”, often writes novels that explore Judaism in an oppressive Gentile world. In his 2007 novel, “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” he writes of a well-established Jewish community in Sitka, Alaska about to be dismantled even while the main character, Meyer Landsman, who is addicted to cigarettes and alcohol and who enjoys wallowing in self-pity when not drunk, tries to discover the murderer of a man, Emanuel Lasker, found face-down in the Hotel Zamenhof, where Landsman makes his lonely home.
Because of the circumstances of the murder, Landsman finds himself taking a personal interest in the case and his leads take him to shady areas, the Einstein (a restaurant frequented by the chess players of Sitka), Verbover Island— the home of the “black-hats” (the religious Jewish mafia), and to a correction facility that isn’t entirely what it appears to be. During his investigation, he learns of a tie between Lasker and his dead sister, and of Lasker’s identity, which, when they find out, pierces the heart of the Jewish Nation of Sitka. On top of trying to close the case, there is also the Reversion looming over the Jews of Sitka, threatening to take the last home the Jews have had for the past sixty years.
Despite the seriousness of the plot, Chabon’s writing lends itself to various incidents of humor. In one scene, when Landsman’s ex-wife runs into Landsman at a local cafeteria, “… Landsman makes the mature decision to pretend that he has not seen Bina” and contemplating the commonly used phrase “Jesus [expletive] Christ” “It is an expression that always strikes Landsman as curious, or at least as something that he would pay money to see”. Quips like these are rampant throughout the novel and in the same scene, Landsman even finds himself contemplating the various things his ex-wife has pulled out of her bag, “Ant traps, a corkscrew, candles and matches, a dog muzzle, a penknife, a tiny aerosol can of Freon, a magnifying glass…” But, these humorous quips are only a cover for the more serious tone of this novel, captured in one very ironic phrase, “Every Messiah fails the moment he tries to redeem himself”.
“The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” explores an alternative history where Israel never was and the Jews who survived the Holocaust found a home in Sitka, Alaska. Between the death of a Tzaddik Ha-Dor, or a generation’s potential Messiah, and Reversion, the story lends itself to a look into the heart of a nation with no home and no hope, where some hold steadfast to their faith and others have given it up.
Overall, it reads like an old black-and-white detective movie and gives way to a more prose-like feel about a quarter of the way in. Though difficult to get into if you are not one for detective stories, this novel does have moments of fast-paced action and excitement that make it difficult to lay the book down....more