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Moonglow (Tpb Om) Paperback – 26 Jan 2017

4.8 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Paperback, 26 Jan 2017
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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: 23.5 x 7 x 15.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 356,715 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Funny, moving and tremendously entertaining, Moonglow is suitably dappled with light and shade. Perhaps, above all, 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

‘”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

‘Very charming and very readable’ Sunday Times

‘A cracker…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 about the circuitous path that a life follows’ The Washington Post

A rich and exotic confection. Too strict a recipe would have spoiled the charm of this layer cake of nested memories and family legends … This book is beautiful’ New York Times Book Review

A poignant, engrossing triumph’ People

‘Elegiac and deeply poignant … A tapestry that’s as complicated, beautiful and flawed as an antique carpet …Chabon is one of contemporary literature’s most gifted prose stylists … In Moonglow, he writes with both lovely lyricism and highly caffeinated fervor’ Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

‘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

‘Beautifully written … a handsome piece of work’ Philip Hensher, Guardian

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

From the Back Cover

In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother's home in Oakland, California, to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon's grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never before heard, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten.

Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as "my grandfather." It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact--and the creative power--of keeping secrets and telling lies. It is also a tour de force of speculative autobiography in which the author devises and reveals a secret history of his own imagination.

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Top Customer Reviews

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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: 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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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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By sevenpin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 Jan. 2017
Format: Kindle Edition
Michael Chabon pulls off a hybrid memoir and a contested fictional multigenerational family history peppered with anecdotes and stories from his heavily medicated grandfather on his deathbed. Chabon unashamedly states its fictional roots and perhaps questions the concept of a factual memoir, how much of a memoir can be said to true when peoples' memories are notoriously unreliable? Can a memoir be free from an agenda? How much is the truth embellished to create a compelling life history? How free is it from the desire to create a particular picture of an individual whilst diminishing or erasing other aspects? I came away from reading this feeling that in this case it barely matters which bricks of this fabled reconstruction of family history are true and which are false. What mattered to me is the warmth, passion, vibrancy, imagination and humour with which the web of stories are told, the love and affection that drive the need in the author to document his maternal grandfather's life as he is dying, serving the purpose of tangibly memorialising and honouring a life on the cusp of passing on. Particularly as his grandfather talks of his life amounting to little, the temporary nature of life and that whilst he was always starting things, he never finished them. I for one am not going to forget this book.

I was entranced by the lyrical prose and the vivid metaphors in the narrative.
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