Moonglow by Michael Chabon
After Telegraph Avenue my expectations were low, and there were definitely moments where it had the kind of flat old-white-guy writing I get so tired of, but on the whole it was a return to form. A lesson that the personal almost always makes a better book than the sociological.
Not linear–with some real playing going on with memory and story. It’s the story of the grandfather’s life as told by his grandson, reconstructed from what the grandfather told him at the morphine-soaked end of his life, and I liked how it skipped around. I think its level of narrative self-awareness–mostly as intrusion of the grandson narrator, with a few scenes in the present–was the right amount, clearly just a frame but enough to cast the story with the kind of uncertainty about the nature of truth and memory that makes it something more than just a bunch of crazy stories.
It’s also, in a way, a book about Jewishness, but in such a different (more personal, less heady) way than the Safran Foer.