Lacey's Reviews > The Yiddish Policemen's Union

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon
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May 22, 2009

it was ok
Read in December, 2009

I should really accept the fact that at this point in my life, I know what I like. But I don't accept that, and I always think that if I go out on a limb and try something in a new style, maybe this time will be different. Michael Chabon proved that, in his case...it was not.

I don't like mystery novels. Well, strike that. I don't like mystery novels where the entire plot hinges on the mystery and is not somehow related to the creation of sub-plots and character development. I think Chabon expected he was doing this, which might be true for people who are accustomed to reading mysteries. But for me, it just seemed so far steeped in this obsession with the mystery element of the plot that it entirely glazed over all the most interesting elements.

The interesting parts I'm referring to are the alternative history aspects. This part, I loved, and were it not for this part I would have likely abandoned the novel altogether and opted not to finish the 400+ pages. And the novel did eventually stop meandering around the mystery and get to some elements of this. Even the mystery got more interesting, and by the last quarter of the book I found myself genuinely compelled to find out the ending. But 300 pages is a long way to go to get to that point. Far too long.

Ultimately, I think Chabon is a great writer. I would even be interested in trying some of his more acclaimed books, as I'd like to think that acclaim is a good barometer for the quality of the plot, and I genuinely like his writing style. Some of the metaphors and turns of phrase he comes up with are uniquely impeccable to the situation in the story. But overall, I felt like I read a book that, majority of the time, I only sort of liked, and for that reason, I was only sort of satisfied.
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10/01/2009 page 37
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