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Telegraph Avenue: A Novel by Michael Chabon
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Telegraph Avenue: A Novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Michael Chabon

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1,446725,188 (3.48)104
Member:sushidog
Title:Telegraph Avenue: A Novel
Authors:Michael Chabon
Info:Harper (2012), Edition: First Edition, Hardcover, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:America, jazz, race

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Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon (2012)

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» See also 104 mentions

English (70)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All (72)
Showing 1-5 of 70 (next | show all)
the Evening Standard pull quote on the back calls it a 'jazz-funk Middlemarch', a description on which my verdict between its funness and its eye-rollery remains out. nevertheless, this is a fantastic and characteristically beautifully-written book from one of the authors i take most pleasure in reading (sample passage: 'A person tended to see herself as a streetlamp on a misty night, at the center of a sphere or radiance, but that was a trick of the light, an illusion of centrality in a general fog. A laboring woman, though, while she endured her labor, lay at the center of something truly radiant in four dimensions; every birth everywhere, all the vectors of human evolution and migration originating and terminating at the parting of her legs.'). just as Summerland was for baseball and the mythologies of the American melting pot, and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay was for New York Jewishness and the Golden Age of Comics, Telegraph Avenue is a book that you will love even if you know nothing about vinyl, jazz, blaxploitation or midwifery, and will indeed teach you a little something about each. ( )
  housemartin | Mar 30, 2017 |
I love me some Chabon, and this book didn't disappoint. The book is about two friends who own a record store in Oakland and are fighting to keep it going when they hear news of a new blockbuster shopping center moving in down the block, complete with a two-story music section. Filled with wry humor and Chabon's typically sharp observations about American popular culture. I recommend the ebook, which comes with some extras: video interviews with Chabon, illustrations, and a recommended playlist. ( )
  jalbacutler | Jan 10, 2017 |
More like 3.5 stars. Chabon certainly has a wonderful and evocative way with words, and I found many of the characters nicely fleshed out (especially the two teenagers Julie and Titus.) others I felt were only partially formed, and at times the interplay between them could border on false. Also, the end was too pat. ALSO I dislike books with an "everything is connected and nothing is coincidence" theme which this teetered dangerously close to at times . To sum up: Not my favorite of his, but I didn't hate it. ( )
  abbeyhar | Nov 8, 2016 |
“They were little more than boys, and yet while they differed in race, in temperament, and in their understanding of love, they were united in this: The remnant of their boyhood was a ballast they wished to cut away.”

“The past was irretrievable, the league of lonely men a fiction, the pursuit of the past a doomed attempt to run a hustle on mortality.”

Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are longtime friends and they run a funky little record shop called Brokeland Records. It is located on Telegraph Avenue in Oakland. Archy is thirty-six and expecting his first child. A big-shot, businessman wants to buy out their store and open a megastore. It is tempting, since the store is a fading relic and they struggle to survive but there are plenty of conflicting forces, keeping them from pulling the trigger.

This novel is a mosiac of pop culture, filled with music references, mostly classic jazz and soul, films from the 70s, Blaxploitation and Bruce Lee movies. A Tarantino tapestry, told in smart, fast-paced prose, that Chabon makes looks so smooth and easy. The characters are vivid and memorable. A nice companion piece to High Fidelity and it is refreshing to see African Americans characters, front and center. ( )
  msf59 | Oct 9, 2016 |
Slogging, dragging through Chabon's Oakland. Somehow Yiddish in Alaska or even comic book blurbs in New York were easier going. Welll I ran out of steam about two hundred pages in and the library wanted it back. I am cheating and moving it over to read (past tense). ( )
  kerns222 | Aug 24, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 70 (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.
 

» Add other authors (10 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chabon, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Peters, ClarkeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

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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