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Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon
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Telegraph Avenue (original 2012; edition 2013)

by Michael Chabon

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1,258646,290 (3.47)87
Member:mayaspector
Title:Telegraph Avenue
Authors:Michael Chabon
Info:HarperCollins (2013), Paperback
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:Oakland, Berkeley, record stores, fatherhood, midwifery, friendship

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Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (2012)

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English (62)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
Wonderful characters, good plotting, extravagant writing (occasionally too much so) are all combined by Michael Chabon is this very twenty first century novel. It has a lot to say about relationships; between men and women, within families and between the races in Oakland, California. I am always a sucker for books s.et around music shops, even if this one specialises in music at the outer ranges of my tastes. It has taken me a long time to get around to reading this, despite enjoying Chabon's other books but I am really glad I finally did. ( )
  johnwbeha | Nov 18, 2015 |
I loved this - the characters, the story, the historical setting, the often quite beautiful prose. ( )
  ronhenry | Nov 17, 2015 |
I loved this book—what a roller-coaster ride! Chabon absolutely nails the Berkeley/Oakland culture, and does it with great wit and terrific writing. The characters—major and minor—are fully realized, and the plot, although a bit over the top in terms of complexity, is engaging. But it's the writing that really did it for me, those soaring, crazy riffs. For example, when one of the characters is searching for containers to transport a dinner he's just made for someone: "Like a dog in a cartoon, forepaws a turbine blur as he hunted up a buried bone in a churn of dirt, Nat excavated the cabinets and ransacked the drawers looking for usable serving containers and suitable platters. Piling up behind him mountains of mateless lids and lidless bottoms, rattling cake pans and pie plates. Souvenirs of ancient Tupperware parties, ice cube trays, thermos cups with no thermoses, Popsicle molds with no sticks, roasting racks, bamboo skewers, a kitchen scale." ( )
  meredk | Jul 3, 2015 |
It was dense and impenetrable but I loved pretty much every minute of it. What should have been Chabon's easiest book for me to get through, given the subject matter, somehow became the hardest for me, given the subject matter. I loved most of it, some of the characters and scenes drove me crazy -- the set up with 58, only to leave us with that highly unsatisfying resolution didn't make sense to me, I didn't like the blimp and felt like another device would have been just as significant - but I still relished every word I read and was sorry when it was over. ( )
  Caryn.Rose | Mar 18, 2015 |
I've read many of Michael Chabon's books and I enjoy the way he thinks and writes. This book, however, was so full of digressionary material that the fairly simple story was almost lost in the interstices of descriptive verbiage. I persevered and enjoyed the book and would recommend it. ( )
1 vote CynthiaBelgum | Oct 3, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (next | show all)
“Telegraph Avenue,” Michael Chabon’s rich, comic new novel, is a homage to an actual place: the boulevard in Northern California where Oakland — historically an African-American city — aligns with Berkeley, whose bourgeois white inhabitants are, as one character puts it, “liable to invest all their hope of heaven in the taste of an egg laid in the backyard by a heritage-breed chicken.” The novel is equally a tribute to the cinematic style of Quentin Tarantino, whose films its characters study and discuss, and whose preoccupations pepper its pages: kung fu, cinematic allusions and the blaxploitation films of the 1970s; and an interest in African-American characters and experience. Chabon and Tarantino make an unlikely duo; while the latter’s films tend toward gaudy eruptions of violence, Chabon bends Tarantino’s sensibility to a warmhearted novel about fatherhood in which the onstage violence consists of two graphic childbirth scenes and a 15-year-old boy whacking a chubby thug with a wooden sword. A self-help book in the style of Andrei Tarkovsky would be hardly more oxymoronic.
 
Mr. Chabon has constructed an amazingly rich, emotionally detailed story that addresses his perennial themes — about fathers and sons, husbands and wives, and the consolations of art — while reaching outward to explore the relationship between time past and time present, the weight (or lightness, as the case may be) of history, and the possibility of redemption and forgiveness.
 
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Epigraph
Call me Ishmael.

--Ishmael Reed, probably.
Dedication
To Ayelet, from the drop of the needle to the innermost groove
First words
A white boy rode flatfoot on a skateboard, towed along, hand to shoulder, by a black boy pedaling a brakeless fixed-gear bike.
Quotations
Like a dog in a cartoon, forepaws a turbine blur as he hunted up a buried bone in a churn of dirt, Nat excavated the cabinets and ransacked the drawers looking for usable serving containers and suitable platters.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Book description
One street in Oakland, California. As the summer draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are hanging in there, co-regents of Brokeland Records. Their wives, Gwen and Aviva, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, a pair of legendary midwives.

When former star quarterback Gibson Goode announces plans to dump his latest Dogpile megastore on Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear the worst for their vulnerable little enterprise, as behind Goode’s proposal lurks a nefarious scheme.

While their husbands struggle to mount a defence, Aviva and Gwen find themselves caught up in a professional battle that tests their friendship. And into their already tangled lives comes Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged.
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In this novel the author takes us to Telegraph Avenue. It is a story that explores the profoundly intertwined lives of two Oakland, California families, one black and one white. Here he creates a world grounded in pop culture: Kung Fu, 1970s Blaxploitation films, vinyl LPs, jazz and soul music, and an epic of friendship, race, and secret histories. Longtime band mates Archy and Nat preside over Brokeland Records, a used-record emporium. All is well until a former NFL quarterback, one of the country's richest African Americans, decides to build his latest Dogpile megastore on nearby Telegraph Avenue. Not only could this spell doom for the little shop and its cross-race, cross-class dream, but it opens up past history regarding Archy's untethered dad and a Black Panther-era crime.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

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