Telegraph Avenue
Michael Chabon
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Buy *Telegraph Avenue* by Michael Chabon online

Telegraph Avenue
Michael Chabon
Harper Perennial
496 pages
September 2013
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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In the gifted writer's first novel in five years, Chabon sets his sights on the grand era of real vinyl records, comic book heroes and the slow slide into the digital world. Archy Stallings is a black man working alongside Nat Jaffe, a white Jewish man, in a used record store called Brokeland Records in the gritty area of Oakland, CA. It is a study of the clashing and melding of cultures, handled with as much clarity and purpose as any writer ever tackling the subject.

There is deep meaning and purpose in every word Chabon places on the page. Take one word away and the entire paragraph falls to pieces. It doesn't get any more beautiful than the opening paragraph:

A white boy rode flatfoot on a skateboard, towed along, hand to shoulder, by a black boy pedaling a brakeless fixed-gear bike. Dark August morning, deep in the Flatlands. Hiss of tires. Granular unraveling of skateboard wheels against asphalt. Summertime Berkeley giving off her old-lady smell, nine different styles of jasmine and a squirt of he-cat.
Chabon is a master of precision and elegance and purpose. He doesn't write "It was a dark, August morning." No, he simply makes the line read like poetry by writing, "Dark August morning." It is sublime and moves you like the music he writes about on later pages.

I cannot recommend this book enough. It's impossible to believe that Chabon could get improve as a writer from his earlier books, but he has. Who knows how he does it? Who cares? All we need to know is that he's a master storyteller with a command of the language like few others. You will be awed by this one.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Steven Rosen, 2014

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