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Moonglow (Tpb Om) Paperback – 26 Jan 2017

4.3 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate (26 Jan. 2017)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0008189803
  • ISBN-13: 978-0008189808
  • Product Dimensions: 15.3 x 3.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 583,359 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

Funny, moving and tremendously entertaining, This is a novel about the narratives we construct for ourselves and the need we have for them, one that confirms Chabon not just as an irresistible tale-teller, but also a master’ Daily Mail

A masterclass in storytelling’ Independent

Entirely sure footed, propulsive, the work of a master at his very best. The brilliance of Moonglow stands as a strident defence of the form itself, a bravura demonstration of the endless mutability and versatility of the novel’ Observer

Chabon’s storytelling is so characteristically exuberant, the narratives so unfailingly rich’ Telegraph

‘”It doesn’t add up to anything,” stated the grandfather, as he looks back at his life. “It doesn’t mean anything.” Luminous with love, Moonglow is here to show us that it does’ Irish Independent

‘Chabon is virtuoso’ Irish Times

‘Moving, wry, thoroughly entertaining’ FT

‘Much of Moonglow feels Dickensian in style, and as with Dickens it is rich in sentiment. This is to the novel’s credit … Exquisite’ TLS

Comparable to the young Paul Auster … It’s as intriguing as a locked room mystery, but in keeping with Chabon’s canon, also has a heart the size of an elephant’ Big Issue

‘A wondrous book that celebrates the power of family bonds and the slipperiness of memory … A thoroughly enchanting story’ The Washington Post

A rich and exotic confectionThis book is beautiful’ New York Times

A poignant, engrossing triumph’ People

Chabon is one of contemporary literature’s most gifted prose stylists … In Moonglow, he writes with both lovely lyricism and highly caffeinated fervour’ Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

From the Inside Flap

The keeping of secrets and the telling of lies; sex and desire and ordinary love; existential doubt and model rocketry - all feature in the new novel from the author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and The Yiddish Policeman's Union.

Moonglow unfolds as a deathbed confession. An old man, tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, tells stories to his grandson, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried. From the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of a New York Prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of "the American Century," Moonglow collapses an era into a single life and a lifetime into a single week.

A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional non-fiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most daring and his most moving.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Incandescent

Now that Bellow is dead and Roth retired, Chabon steps up to be the new bard of the Jewish experience in America. Going beyond his previous efforts to capture the zeitgeist, Chabon produces his best work since, well, his last novel, Telegraph Avenue. No one except Franzen writes such accessible, big novels.

This 'biography' of Chabon's 'grandfather' is a stunning piece of whimsy, the tale of a cranky old genius that grips and surprises throughout. It is also a bizarre take on the Jewish belief or non-belief in God, the Holocaust and masculinity. Some critics would prefer Chabon to be more serious and not so flip, but he manages to make telling observations and convey ideas while making the reader flip the page. That he is now the heavyweight champion of quality American Jewish prose seems to me to be beyond dispute, if you count this, Kavalier and Clay, Wonder Boys, Telegraph Avenue and The Yiddish Policeman's Union into account.

Its a long, hairy novel, full of time switches and strange incidents. The prose is great; sparkling but not as showy as he can write. But I enjoyed it all and can see why it is up for literary prizes.

A treat.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Brilliant writing as always from Michael Chabon. a distinguished American novel.

Probably the best new American novel this century. Beautifully written and as quirky and distinctive as Chabon's best. A panoramic view of Europe and America from the thirties to the end of the 20th century taking in the Second World War and the space race, all packed into a putative biography of Chabon's Jewish 'grandfather'. Very highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved this book for about a third of it, then struggled to keep interested, and then sadly just couldn't be bothered anymore. He is a brilliant writer but for me, this is just too long and sags too early in.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr Chabon is in fine form with Moonglow. His descriptive powers, and use of language, are absolutely extraordinary. His characters are compelling, and very human. I am not sure why other reviewers focus on the "Jewishness" of Moonglow. It is simply a beautifully written novel.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Much to my surprise I never engaged with this book. I usually really enjoy Chabon's writing
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Took me a while to get into but I am so glad I did. A wonderful story beautifully written and I learnt a lot too.
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By SueKich TOP 500 REVIEWER on 5 Jan. 2017
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Michael Chabon plays with memories and the memoir form in his new book, Moonglow, which is billed as a novel. The Chabonic narrator is helping to take care of his taciturn grandfather as he lays dying. The meds have loosened his tongue and his grandson is happy in this one sense: his grandfather is talking at last.

Early on in the book, Chabon’s narrator says: “To claim or represent that I retain an exact or even approximate recollection of what anyone said so long ago would be to commit the memoirist’s great sin.” Is the author toying with us? It would seem so because what we have here, weaving in and out of different timelines, are stories and dialogue that are ‘recalled’ with crystal clarity: the grandfather’s spell in prison, his end-of-wartime exploits as part of an intelligence unit sent to track down the cream of Germany’s rocket scientists and spirit them to the States before the Russians can get their hands on them. (The grandfather - a passionate follower of the space programme and an inspired engineer himself - might even have been a rocket man in another life.) He recounts the story of how he met the narrator’s grandmother, a French refugee with terrible memories leading to profound mental illness. When the narrator, as a young boy, asks why his grandma owns a deck of fortune-telling cards, is it because she is a witch? She replies, “Not anymore.” But she certainly bewitches the grandfather who cares for her deeply. When they first meet, she is already the mother of a young daughter. The grandfather, whose name we never learn, has no blood tie to the narrator at all.

This is a book with tremendous heart: a serenade to family told with Michael Chabon’s customary command and into which he effortlessly injects his own natural warmth and good humour.
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Format: Kindle Edition
This is a long, meandering novel masquerading as a memoir: it flits around in time and place so that the chapters don't follow consecutively and it's only gradually that we build up a picture of the narrator's family history via the stories told to him by his dying grandfather. Despite the post-modern affectations (historical truth vs fictional truth, fragmented narrative, a narrator who takes the name of but isn't the real-life author himself) there's real heart here which lifts this beyond merely the clever-clever construction and gives it a haunting, poignant substance.

At the heart of the book for me is not so much 'my grandfather' (never named) but the beautiful, damaged woman with whom he falls in love: 'she was a vessel built to hold the pain of her history, but it had cracked her, and radiant darkness leaked out'. Profoundly affected by her experiences during WW2, the narrator's grandmother tells stories to shore up her own sense of self and to hold herself together in the wake of trauma.

While the story shifted for me between the enthralling and the tedious, Chabon's gorgeous writing carried me through: he moves effortlessly from the rambunctious humour of the opening scene where the grandfather tries to garotte his boss with a ripped out telephone cable to the lyrical, elegiac, distressing scenes with the grandmother. Along the way, we're treated to a meditation on families and what constitutes a family when it's not based on blood, on history and its aftermaths, on memory and stories. In less accomplished hands this might have had its mawkish and sentimental moments but Chabon side-steps them with something far more authentic. A big-hearted and beautifully-written novel.

Thanks to the publisher for an ARC via NetGalley
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