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Telegraph Avenue by [Chabon, Michael]
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Telegraph Avenue Kindle Edition

3.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews

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Review

An amazingly rich, emotionally detailed story .[Chabon s] people become so real to us, their problems so palpably netted in the author s buoyant, expressionistic prose, that the novel gradually becomes a genuinely immersive experience something increasingly rare in our ADD age. --Michiko Kakutani, "New York Times""

Chabon is an extraordinarily generous writer. He is generous to his characters, to his landscapes, to syntax, to words, to his readers there is a real joy in his work .Both ambitious and lighthearted, the novel is a touching, gentle, comic meditation. --Cathleen Schine, "New York Review of Books""

Astounding....steamrolls the barrier that has kept the Great American Novel at odds with the country it s supposed to reflect....[A] huge-hearted, funny, improbably hip book. --John Freeman, "Boston Globe""

Forget Joycean or Bellovian or any other authorial allusion. "Telegraph Avenue" might best be described as Chabonesque. Exuberantly written, generously peopled, its sentences go off like a summer fireworks show, in strings of bursting metaphor. --Jess Walter, "San Francisco Chronicle""

Chabon has made a career of routing big, ambitious projects through popular genres, with superlative results .The scale of "Telegraph Avenue" is no less ambitious .Much of the wit...inheres in Chabon s astonishing prose. I don t just mean the showy bits I mean the offhand brilliance that happens everywhere. --Jennifer Egan, "New York Times Book Review" (cover review)"

The writing - stylized, humorous and often dazzling - is inflected with tones of jazz and funk. But it s Chabon s ear for the sounds of the human soul that make this book a masterpiece, as his vividly drawn characters learn to live at the intersection of disappointment and hope. --Robin Micheli, "People" (4 out of 4 stars)"

"Telegraph Avenue" is so exuberant, it s as if Michael Chabon has pulled joy from the air and squeezed it into the shape of words....His sentences spring, bounce, set off sparklers, even when dwelling in mundane details .Fantastic. --Carolyn Kellogg, "Los Angeles Times Book Review""

Witty and compassionate and full of more linguistic derring-do than any other writer in American could carry off. --Ron Charles, "Washington Post""

An exhilarating, bighearted novel. --"O magazine""

A genuinely moving story about race and class, parenting and marriage Chabon is inarguably one of the greatest prose stylists of all time, powering out sentences that are the equivalent of executing a triple back flip on a bucking bull while juggling chain saws and making love to three women. --Benjamin Percy, "Esquire""

A jam that grooves, entertains, entrances and sticks in your head with infectious melodies .[Chabon] is a hypnotizing master of language, crafting fresh descriptors for familiar functions, poetic detours that never sacrifice narrative flow, well-oiled metaphorical machinations, and seamless time travelling that makes the phrase flashback seem obsolete. --Jake Austen, "Chicago Tribune""

Chabon s hugely likable characters all face crises of existential magnitude, rendered in an Electra Glide flow of Zen sentences and zinging metaphors that make us wish the needle would never arrive at the final groove. --"Elle""

[Chabon] is a truly gifted writer of prose: He writes long, luxurious sentences that swoop and meander before circling back in on themselves, not infrequently approximating the improvisational jazz that Archy and Nat hold so dear. --"Associated Press""

As always, Chabon s gorgeous prose astonishes, particularly in the Joycean chapter A Bird of Wide Experience .Like that colorful bird, Telegraph Avenue dazzles and soars. --Cliff Froehlich, "St. Louis Post-Dispatch""

Spectacular. --Mike Fischer, "Milwaukee Journal Sentinel""

A moving, sprawling, modern-day tale that uses the improvisational shifts and rhythms of jazz and soul to tell the story of two couples .With seeming ease, Chabon shifts from high-wire flourishes to moments of crystalline simplicity. --Robert Bianco, "USA Today" (4 out of 4 stars)"

Fresh, unpretentious, delectably written .For all his explorations into the contentious dynamics of family, race and community, Mr. Chabon s first desire is simply to enchant with words. Eight novels in, he still uses language like someone amazed by a newly discovered superpower. --Sam Sacks, "Wall Street Journal""

A beautiful, prismatic maximalism of description and tone, a sly meditation on appropriation as the real engine of integration, and an excellent rationale for twelve-page sentences. --Kelsey Dake, "GQ""

He writes with such warmth and humor and sheer enthusiasm - for his characters, for the rhythms and atmosphere of Oakland, for geek culture, for the mysterious power of music, which he captures with uncommon descriptive virtuosity - that by the end it s hard to resist this charmingly earnest book. --Rob Brunner, "Entertainment Weekly""

This is a novel rich in story and character, rich in its dialogue and descriptions, rich in spirit and invention - and full of sharp, funny writing .The spirit of "Telegraph Avenue" is one of union and reconciliation, a welcome, exuberant voice in our fractious times. --David Walton, "Cleveland Plain Dealer""

A buoyant novel, written with the author s typical stylistic elegance and empathetic imagination .His prose is as energizing as ever, in part because he s always willing to try high-risk maneuvers up on the figurative balance beam. --Troy Patterson, "Slate""

An end-of-an era epic....A Joyce-an remix with a hipper rhythm track. --"Kirkus Reviews" (starred review)"

One of Chabon s great gifts is an ability to beguile us with prose that exudes warmth into seeing ourselves in others, to even know them as ourselves. It s a feat that parlays "Telegraph Avenue," with its diverse population, into an All-American novel, one of the great ones. --Sherryl Connelly, "Daily News""

A magnificently crafted, exuberantly alive, emotionally lustrous, and socially intricate saga....Bubbling with lovingly curated knowledge about everything from jazz to pregnancy Chabon s rhapsodically detailed, buoyantly plotted, warmly intimate cross-cultural tale of metamorphoses is electric with suspense, humor, and bebop dialogue .An embracing, radiant masterpiece. --"Booklist," starred review"

If any novelist can pack the entire American zeitgeist into 500 pages, it s Chabon....Ambitious, densely written, sometimes very funny, and fabulously over the top, here s a rare book that really could be the great American novel. --"Library Journal" (starred review)"

Virtuosity is the word most commonly associated with Chabon, and if "Telegraph Avenue," the latest from Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Yiddish Policeman s Union," is at first glance less conceptual than its predecessors, the sentences are no less remarkable. --"Publishers Weekly""

A stylized, rapturous novel ."Telegraph Avenue" entertains with a riotous mashup of comics, kung fu, 70s jazz and family strife, but at the core lie some startlingly sober revelations. --Zane Jungman, "Austin American-Statesman""

Chabon has a near effortless ability to reveal the huge universal human truths that scaffold absurdly specific circumstances, and he does so on nearly every page here. --Emily SImon, "Buffalo News""

A sparkling, mesmerizing read .That s what Chabon s books do, sentence after sentence, page after page: they force you to bring your game up to his level .His writer s eye makes the world a more vivid, vital place to live. --Michael Bourne, "The Millions""

An achingly poignant vibe of sweet and soulful idealism makes itself heard throughout "Telegraph Avenue" .It s a dream worth imagining, and Chabon does so with skill, charm, and no small amount of virtuosic writing. --Diane Cole, "Jewish Week""

["Telegraph Avenue"] has a Great American Novel heft to it probably because, all caps aside, it is a great American novel. --Kathryn Schulz, "New York magazine""

Chabon not only knows how [his characters] feel, but how they talk. His dialogue is a thing to behold, the plot unrelenting. And I can t imagine any writer, male or female, ever delivering a more breathtaking description of a woman giving birth. Some midwife, this Chabon. --Dan Cryer, "Newsday""

Displays both his sense of ordinary people s inner lives and his rich, freewheeling prose .A dense, flavorful book about race, class, politics, culture and sexuality, as expansive and ambitious as anything Chabon has published to date .An essential, unforgettable read. --Ben Pfeiffer, "Kansas City Star""

His most mature, accessible fiction to date An engrossing, well-crafted drama of family and friendship .Chabon s storytelling gifts seem to know no bounds, and the dexterity with which he crafts his beautiful prose is often breathtaking. --Jeremy Garber, "The Oregonian""

A dazzling star turn of a novel that showcases Chabon s writing talents like a digital TV screen above Times Square .Chabon does love popular culture, but he loves humanity more, and that love is the power behind this sweeping novel. --Bob Hoover, "Minneapolis Star Tribune""

Chabon s inventiveness requires language dazzling and deft enough to put it across, and like most of his later work, "Telegraph Avenue" reads easy - I downed 300 pages flying back from Denmark, stopping only to eat and nap. --Robert Christgau, "barnesandnoble.com""

A dazzling display of sheer writing ability from the prodigiously talented Chabon. --"Philadelphia Inquirer""

Michael Chabon is the Michael Jordan of American novelists ."Telegraph Avenue" could serve as a master class on how to write a novel. --John Broening, "Denver Post""

As ever, Chabon is a performing magician. He can take any topic and stage it so the crowd smiles and even "oohs" its amazement .Chabon makes a grab for the entire world in a single bighearted book. --Darin Strauss, "New York Times Book Review""

From the Back Cover

As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, a pair of semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart half tavern, half temple stands Brokeland.

When ex NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complications to the couples' already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of fifteen-year-old Julius Jaffe's life."


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1662 KB
  • Print Length: 643 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007507410
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (11 Sept. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007H3GTGW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #171,986 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like Michael Chabon. I think he has a wonderful turn of phrase, and his writing as a rule is very evocative.

Unfortunately, I found it very hard to engage with this book. It's difficult to put my finger on any one thing, and I think it was a combination of factors.

* Too many characters that played too small a part - The book is a confusion of characters, many of which are introduced simply to give colour to a single scene. Of course when that happens it's not clear at first and you have to wait a while to realise they're not making a reappearance. The CHOCHISE meeting about 3/4 of the way through the book is a prime example of this.

* Unclear characterisation forced me to re-evaluate the characters too often - As a reader I draw certain conclusions from the actions of characters. When these conclusions are contradicted later on it becomes confusing. Why did they act the way they did if that's the sort of person they are?

* Unclear character descriptions - This was a minor one, but it happened a couple of times, and it pulled me right out of the story. I'd built a picture of a character in my head, then some new piece of information (eg. hair colour, in the case of Cochise) is introduced relatively late in the book, forcing me to revise my mental image, and throwing the whole plot into confusion as I now have 2 character images for the same character - one of which has performed the actions in the first half of the book, and one which will hold from now on.

* Not enough story - At some point beautiful prose just isn't enough, and at the end of the day I didn't feel there was enough actual story to warrant a book of this length.

* Too many references - To everything! From Star Trek to Jazz.
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By SueKich TOP 500 REVIEWER on 20 Sept. 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anybody who has read The Yiddish Policemen's Union or The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay will know that Michael Chabon is one of, if not the most, dazzling of writers. With a dense writing style all his own, you will need to concentrate, but you will be rewarded.

Archy (black) and Nat (Jewish) run a vintage vinyl shop in Oakland. The name of the shop is Brokeland , a name that sums up Chabon's lexical humour as well as the financial state of Archy and Nat's business. The shop is more than just a retail outlet; it's a hub where the local characters hang out, talk jazz and try to work out a plan to save the shop from imminent ruin. Gibson Goode is the fifth-richest black man in the US and he is planning to extend his empire by building his latest Dogpile megastore on nearby Telegraph Avenue. Archy and Nat's little enterprise, wobbly at best, is heading the way of so many individual, quirky, one-off shops - closure.

Meanwhile, Archy's wife Gwen and Nat's wife Aviva are highly experienced midwives who run their own birthing business. (Only in America!) When one of the births that they are attending gets complicated, Gwen runs foul of the hospital authorities and one doctor in particular. These two main plot-lines give Chabon the opportunity to explore the beleaguered battle-lines between big business and the establishment versus enterprise and individuality. Add into the mix two teenage boys. One is Nat's son Julie (Julius) and the other is Titus, the son that Archy has never acknowledged. The boys become best friends - and more.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Brokeland Records is one of those mythical, eccentric second-hand record stores where Nick Hornby and other devoted music aficionados shop. Located on a rundown section of Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, Brokeland is owned by Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe, long-time friends and band mates, and has a handful of loyal customers who visit regularly to hangout and occasionally to buy records. Business has been bad at Brokeland for a while but things are about to get a lot worse since planning permission has been granted for ex-NFL player and fifth richest black man in the USA Gibson Goode to open a Dogpile Thang (that being a music and entertainment megastore) just down the road.

It's not just business that's causing trouble for Archy and Nat either. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, run a midwifery business together and inadvertently become embroiled in a racially charged professional dispute when a home birth goes dangerously wrong. The chances of domestic peace are further shattered by the arrival of Archy's estranged father Luther Stallings, a former Blaxploitation star and martial arts champion, the revelation that Archy has a previously unacknowledged teenage son named Titus Joyner, and the relationship between Titus and Nat's son Julius. The impending arrival of Gibson Goode's Thang quickly becomes the least of Archy and Nat's worries.

Telegraph Avenue is an excellent, epic novel of real life and relationships. Michael Chabon often explores interpersonal relationships (particularly notions of fatherhood) and how they affect individuals as well as the wider world and he does so again in a variety of ways with Telegraph Avenue.
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