I'm devoting a whole blog to this, because it was a most unusual book, with wonderful language full of metaphor and sentences I sometimes read twice over. Stop now if you don't want to come across some plot spoilers.
My family didn’t speak Yiddish, but words filtered through, and I was surprised at how much I could recognise. Nevertheless, I still had to guess at some words, just as I did with A Clockwork
One of the reading circle compared it to Shakespeare - that is to say, stopping to clarify every word spoils it, whereas reading on and getting the idea is, in my view, (and in his view) a much better way to read it. However, another of our group did say that he investigated a number of the points, on the Internet, in order to understand.
I like to be able to empathise with a character, and I very soon became very comfortable with Meyer, the world weary copy and his partner, Berko. Plot is normally important to me too, and this case, I sometimes got lost in the plot. But by the time I’d finished, I felt it wasn’t all that important for me to understand it, because the journey itself was enjoyable. I very much liked Michael Chabon’s language (English, that is), in spite of the excessive use of 4-letter words - and found myself laughing frequently. He has a wonderful way with words.
Because I read it twice, I did understand it more second time around, and notice that Chabon cleverly puts in a lot of seemingly irrelevant details, which are actually important after all. For example the potential coming of the Messiah, which is crucial to the plot is mentioned in the second chapter.
In a parallel universe, during the Second World War, about 3 million Jews were rescued from
Now it’s 2006, and the lease is coming to an end. Orthodox sects want to return to the
This is all funded by the government, who have promised the land back to the original Alaskan population, when the Jews go, and who are assisting in creating a conflict in the middle east, either for religious reasons, or for oil, or for some other reason we don’t understand.
Mendel Shpilman, alias Emanual Lasker (a famous chess player,) a man who can perform miracles, is selected to be the reluctant Messiah. He finds himself pushed into a corner, from which there is seemingly no escape.
Detective Meyer Lasssman, a broken man since the death of his sister and divorce from his wife, needs to solve the case, and finds it much more complex than the death of one man. Although I got lost in the plot, I felt that, in the end, it is Meyer’s personal story that needs to be resolved satisfactorily, and to me it was.