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Moonglow by Michael Chabon

Moonglow (2016)

by Michael Chabon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
1,441648,774 (3.94)155
A man bears witness to his grandfather's deathbed confessions, which reveal his family's long-buried history and his involvement in a mail-order novelty company, World War II, and the space program.



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» See also 155 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
3.5 stars. An enjoyable story, its chronology scattered across six or so decades, written in a straightforward, at times precise style. ( )
  ChristopherSwann | May 15, 2020 |
Quite good, written with deep meaning throughout. Unusual a fictional autobiography in which the author appears as himself, but it works. ( )
  charlie68 | May 7, 2020 |
On his deathbed, a grandfather tells the story of his life to his grandson. It is true that the grandson's name is Michael and his father's family name is Chabon. However, this is a work of fiction, inspired by family stories.

The grandfather's life has been a full one. On his death bed he reveals his story in nonsequential flashbacks, which probably is the way such a narrative in this situation would be told. On the plus side, it allows the author to keep back some secrets that get revealed later. But to me it was not only confusing, but annoying when the story was disrupted.

Educated as an engineer, Michael's grandfather is very clever with mechanics and electronics. Sometimes this gets him into trouble and sometimes it gets him out of trouble. Werner Von Braun figures initially as a great influence in his life until his disillusionment in WWII. Still, he remains wrapped up in the space age mania of the 50s and 60s, gazing at the night sky and making models. Above all, the grandfather is loyal to his wife, despite her many problems. His ideal is to eventually live on the moon with his family.

This is a big ambitious book - a family saga - at times very funny and at times very poignant. ( )
  steller0707 | Aug 25, 2019 |
I am certainly in the minority about with my 1 star rating. I was disappointed because so many Goodreads readers raved about this book. I was prepared to enjoy it - and it was my first Chabon novel. But I didn't like it and wouldn't recommend it. The only reasons I finished it were 1) I hoped by the end it would redeem itself and 2) it was a commitment I made to my book group. I thought it was crude, parts were depressingly dark and hopeless, and the execution of a tale told on the grandfather's deathbed was improbable. For example the narrator (Mike, the grandson), is listening as his grandfather recalls experiences from his life. Mike is not taking notes while his grandfather recounts his story, yet he is able to write this memoir in a literary fashion, with explicit details of sounds, smells, and the thoughts of the characters. And what’s the meaning of the title? I will most assuredly not be reading any more Chabon. ( )
  PhyllisReads | Apr 27, 2019 |
A confusing story... I had my warm, glowy moments with it but could not finish it. Hope to take it to the beach one day. ( )
  deeEhmm | Apr 3, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
This is a novel that, despite its chronological lurches, feels entirely sure footed, propulsive, the work of a master at his very best. The brilliance of Moonglow stands as a strident defence of the form itself, a bravura demonstration of the endless mutability and versatility of the novel.
One can read Chabon’s novel as an exploration of anger—a study of how one man’s innate rage is exacerbated by the horrors of the twentieth century and by their impact on his personal history.
added by melmore | editNew York Review of Books, Francine Prose (pay site) (Dec 22, 2016)
“Moonglow” is another scale model of love and death and catastrophe. It’s another reminder that we live in a broken world. And fiction, Chabon said, “is an attempt to mend it.”
And this book, a love letter to two temperamentally opposite grandparents — one a rational, practical American, the other a dreamy, romantic European — is also an account of their formative influences on the writer their grandson would become.

These are not so much explained as felt, woven into the very fabric of Chabon’s supple and resourceful prose. He brings the world of his grandparents to life in language that seems to partake of their essences.
added by melmore | editNew York Times, A. O. Scott (Nov 18, 2016)

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chabon, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Martinez, AdalisCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Newbern, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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There is no dark side of the moon, really. Matter of fact, it's all dark.
-Wernher von Braun
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A man bears witness to his grandfather's deathbed confessions, which reveal his family's long-buried history and his involvement in a mail-order novelty company, World War II, and the space program.
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Average: (3.94)
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