Tournament of Books discussion

Moonglow
This topic is about Moonglow
note: This topic has been closed to new comments.
138 views
2017 TOB -The Books > Moonglow

Comments Showing 1-28 of 28 (28 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Amy (new) - added it

Amy (asawatzky) | 1590 comments space to discuss Moonglow by Michael Chabon


AmberBug com* | 444 comments Overall this book grabbed me in some ways but bored me in others. I appreciate so much of the story that Chabon was giving us but I just wish it flowed better, had a clearer overall picture. The best part about this novel (for me) had to be related to his Grandfathers existential angst. I also question if his Grandfather truly felt that way his whole life OR if this was something that came out during his confession to his son because he was on his death bed.


message 3: by Ruthiella (last edited Feb 07, 2017 04:25PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Ruthiella | 329 comments I also found the book a little disjointed, the way the story jumped from time frame to time frame. I thought that was Chabon trying to keep the reader interested? But overall I really liked the grandfather as a character and I had fun reading about his life. I never cared or even considered if it any of it was true or not true or embellished by the author etc. I just enjoyed the scenery, so to speak.

This is the third Michael Chabon novel that I have read and do find he is sometimes a little overly clever. It doesn’t put me off necessarily but I see where it could bug other readers.


message 4: by AmberBug (last edited Feb 27, 2017 12:05PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

AmberBug com* | 444 comments I'm a little sad this is my first Chabon. I still think I might have had more appreciation if I'd read some of his other work before this.


Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 236 comments Ruthiella wrote: "I also found the book a little disjointed, the way the story jumped from time frame to time frame. I thought that was Chabon trying to keep the reader interested?"

I was pretty irritated with that at times, too, because I wasn't seeing the narrative point to quite so much jumping. Especially when we had a scene with Grandfather saying "tell my story then, but tell it in order" and we immediately jumped to some other timeframe.

I think (maybe?) because Chabon was really telling the story of Grandmother the whole time, and wanted to build up a strong - but winding - path to the reveal. But since all along Grandmother is viewed through about 800 lenses and never given much of a voice of her own (beyond some early moments at the card table), that didn't work for me either.

(But of course I'm working with the twin problems of disliking the reveal itself as plot point, and a negative reaction to any text that treats a woman as a sacred object but denies her a chance to be alive and speak for herself within it.)


Gayla Bassham (sophronisba) | 156 comments I haven't really loved a Chabon novel since The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay; I thought this was going to be the one but I never quite warmed up to it.

I agree with Ruthiella that Chabon is a little clever for his own good (or maybe just not quite as clever as he thinks is).


Daniel Sevitt | 80 comments It's a story about storytelling. It's a story about Jews. It's a story about parents and grandparents. Perhaps when Chabon's career is viewed as a whole, this will be considered more of a pot-boiler, but, for me, this was a triumphant return to form after the disappointment of Telegraph Avenue.

I thought this made a good companion piece to Jonathan Safran Foer's Here I Am. Two deeply Jewish writers using (inventing?) their family histories to ground them and locate them in present-day America.


Gayla Bassham (sophronisba) | 156 comments I preferred Here I Am to Moonglow, but I do agree that the books make good companion pieces. I wish I'd read them back to back now.


message 9: by lark (new)

lark benobi (larkbenobi) | 51 comments Gayla wrote: "I agree with Ruthiella that Chabon is a little clever for his own good (or maybe just not quite as clever as he thinks is). ."

me too. I'm distracted by the filigree and never quite see the story beneath it. I put this one down.

The polarization Chabon gets must just reflect a stylistic preference that resonates with some and not others. I couldn't get off the first page of Cavalier and Klay.

I did love Wonder Boys though, and think I might love The Yiddish Policemen's Union when I get to it, and also The Mysteries of Pittsburgh.


message 10: by Gail (new) - rated it 2 stars

Gail | 11 comments I had a hard time finishing this one as I couldn't love the characters and found the whole thing a bit too folksy for my taste.
I think I will give Kavalier and Clay a try on advice from this thread.


Annette | 4 comments Since I liked this one so well (of the 13 shortlist-I haven't read any other Chabon novels) I suspect it is because I'm older, a "senior", and appreciate grandparents/child relationships.
The jumping story line did not bother me, it kept me thinking of the characters and time frame and how it all is a means to the end.


message 12: by Drew (new) - rated it 4 stars

Drew (drewlynn) | 416 comments Annette wrote: "Since I liked this one so well (of the 13 shortlist-I haven't read any other Chabon novels) I suspect it is because I'm older, a "senior", and appreciate grandparents/child relationships.
The jump..."


Annette, I'm also a "senior" and loved this book. I wonder if it does appeal more to older readers. In another thread I half-jokingly said I didn't mind all the jumping around because that's how my mind works these days. Or is it that we have a different perspective about the passage of time?


message 13: by Adam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Adam (adamstephenhall) I'm 40, so not quite a senior citizen, and I absolutely adored it. I devoured the "filigree" described above with abandon; I'm such a sucker for purple prose, never knowing if I should be ashamed, and Chabon just lets me fly my freak flag proudly when he's on his game with just the right amount of excess.

The scene where his grandparents meet slayed me. It may be one of my favorite passages of any book, ever.

Yes, I'm prone to hyperbole. But so is he.


message 14: by Drew (new) - rated it 4 stars

Drew (drewlynn) | 416 comments Adam wrote: "I'm 40, so not quite a senior citizen, and I absolutely adored it. I devoured the "filigree" described above with abandon; I'm such a sucker for purple prose, never knowing if I should be ashamed, ..."

Yes, purple prose! Wordiness! Victor Hugo! Charles Dickens!

As much as I love wordy books, one book that has stuck with me over the years is Last Night at the Lobster. How anyone could pack so much into such a short book is amazing to me!


Alison Hardtmann (ridgewaygirl) | 444 comments Drew wrote: "As much as I love wordy books, one book that has stuck with me over the years is Last Night at the Lobster...."

Hurray for big, meaty books and also for perfect gems like Last Night of the Lobster. I do love me some O'Nan, but this does stand out among a sea (he's prolific is what I'm saying) of very good books.

And now back to Moonglow - I was recommending it to a snake-phobic friend today and I just want to give a shout-out to Ramon, a hero to cats across America.


message 16: by Drew (new) - rated it 4 stars

Drew (drewlynn) | 416 comments Alison wrote: "And now back to Moonglow - I was recommending it to a snake-phobic friend today and I just want to give a shout-out to Ramon, a hero to cats across America. "

I did really enjoy the snake hunting episodes and I was glad to find out Ramon was not only alive but thriving.


message 17: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 01, 2017 05:25PM) (new)

Alison wrote: "I just want to give a shout-out to Ramon, a hero to cats across America."

Thanks for the giggle, Alison! The scene when Ramon shows up after his ordeal was so great. What a tough cat! He reminded me of a scrapper we had when I was a kid. He would frequently disappear for several days, and then come home with all sorts of battle wounds.


Ellen H | 701 comments Does almost 57 count as "senior"? Maybe "not quite" because I certainly didn't love this book...although I didn't hate it, either. I was very invested in bits of it and found bits of it -- the endless war and spy and space stuff, mostly -- truly tiresome, and I often lost the plot through that. I still feel that he's never managed to hit the heights of Kavalier and Klay again; Telegraph Avenue is one of the very few books I've actually abandoned, even.

Go, Ramon!

And... in my book club that reads the book, we STILL talk about Last Night at the Lobster. What a jewel of a book.


Annette | 4 comments Annette wrote: "Since I liked this one so well (of the 13 shortlist-I haven't read any other Chabon novels) I suspect it is because I'm older, a "senior", and appreciate grandparents/child relationships.
The jump..."


Yes! The "jumping around" of my mind and the passage of time are definite issues with me. But I don't mind! We have time on our hands.
Go Ramon!


AmberBug com* | 444 comments Ellen wrote: "Does almost 57 count as "senior"? Maybe "not quite" because I certainly didn't love this book...although I didn't hate it, either. I was very invested in bits of it and found bits of it -- the endl..."

Ellen, how funny... the space and war bits were my favorite but I also didn't "love" the book... i really enjoyed those parts.


Ellen H | 701 comments And this? is why they make chocolate AND vanilla ice cream...;-))


AmberBug com* | 444 comments Haha, love it.


Kelly | 28 comments For me, this book was a big meh. Well-written but ultimately not engaging.

I think this book may be a perfect example of how your own/family's life is generally not as interesting to other people as it is to you? I loved talking to my grandparents about their own lives and all they did and saw over their 90+ years (on a very similar time-frame to Chabon's grandfather), but I wouldn't ever dream of making someone else listen to it.

I found parts engaging and others not. I didn't mind the jumping time frames, because at least it forced me to focus and keep paying attention.


message 24: by Adam (new) - rated it 4 stars

Adam (adamstephenhall) If your grandparents were a WWII superspy and a woman who pretended to be someone else to escape the Holocaust, I might be interested in hearing their stories. :)


Deborah (brandiec) | 113 comments It was a struggle to finish this, but I finally made it; my first completed TOB shortlist! I agree it was nowhere near as good as The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay or The Yiddish Policemen's Union. Maybe I'm just losing intetest in his voice; Telegraph Avenue was a DNF for me.

Was anyone else bothered by the words Chabon used to describe his grandfather's sex life? I'm no prude, and the "f" word generally doesn't bother me, but I found his use of it and the "c" word to be unpleasantly crude in this context.


message 26: by Drew (new) - rated it 4 stars

Drew (drewlynn) | 416 comments Deborah wrote: "It was a struggle to finish this, but I finally made it; my first completed TOB shortlist! I agree it was nowhere near as good as The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay or The Yiddish Policeme..."

Congratulations on finishing the shortlist!


Melanie Greene (dakimel) | 236 comments Deborah wrote: "Was anyone else bothered by the words Chabon used to describe his grandfather's sex life? I'm no prude, and the "f" word generally doesn't bother me, but I found his use of it and the "c" word to be unpleasantly crude in this context."

I suspect the defense is "he's being provocative! he's putting us deep into the grandfather's interior life!" but I am happy to be a prude (...who writes explicit contemporary romance...) if it means I get to say that the memoir conceit and avoidance of any non-relationship-to-narrator names means that we should have been spared the exact hardness of the erections his grandfather got at various points in his life.


message 28: by [deleted user] (new)

Deborah wrote: "Was anyone else bothered by the words Chabon used to describe his grandfather's sex life? I'm no prude, and the "f" word generally doesn't bother me, but I found his use of it and the "c" word to be unpleasantly crude in this context."

I found it odd and off-putting.


back to top
This topic has been frozen by the moderator. No new comments can be posted.