- 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)
Moonglow (Tpb Om) Paperback – 26 Jan 2017
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‘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.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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
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.Read more ›
I was entranced by the lyrical prose and the vivid metaphors in the narrative.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A favourite author at the top of his form. Chabon combines the adventure story with the love story and the pure novel in dazzlingly rich prose. Read morePublished 2 days ago by terence dooley
Great family history going forward through the generations using death bed conversation. Bit like Illywacker and just as good. RecommendPublished 11 days ago by Simon
I was already a huge fan of Michael Chabon but 'Moonglow' has multiplied my appreciation of the author beyond worlds not even imagined let alone seen. Read morePublished 15 days ago by marco46
Like so many others, Michael Chabon won me over with The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and this novel/memoir (? Read morePublished 19 days ago by Bookish-Em
I'm not quite sure how I liked him even as the story about the kitten revealed itself but I think Grandfather might be a long remembered character for me.Published 21 days ago by paula burrows
Thev author is a very fine writer. He revels in metaphors. His previous novels have dwelt on America post 1945, and Jews. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Dr Barry Clayton
It was a gift and this is the recipients' opinión. "Seems very promising and I look forward to reading it"Published 2 months ago by Madeleine von Numers-Egas