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Moonglow by Michael Chabon
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Moonglow (2016)

by Michael Chabon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,1576110,507 (3.97)148

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» See also 148 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 59 (next | show all)
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 |
I think this may be his best book yet, easily on par with Kavalier and Clay. I've adored all his fiction, major and minor, up until Telegraph Ave, whose characters struck me as annoying hipsters time-traveling back to the 1970's. (I make this judgment based on the first 3 or 4 pages, which was as far as I could get.) I was further dismayed by his occasional pieces in the New York Review of Books around this time, which seemed to me full of unreadable, overblown erudition. What happened? Did he drink the reviewers kool-aid? It's like he became a caricature of his best self. I'm thrilled that his best self is back in spades - he reaches in and grabs your heart with wit, pathos, and simply beautiful writing. Here are just a few of the many things about this book that blew me away - illustrated with quotes.

Two examples of metaphors that say so much with a few, perfect words. This sentence is our first physical introduction to the character Dr. Medved:

“Dr. Medved’s head was a thumb upthrust from his shirt collar.”

This simple, heartbreaking phrase comes while the grandfather is driving all over town searching for his missing, schizophrenic wife:

“…and out there somewhere a woman with a crack in her brain that was letting in shadows and leaking dreams.”

But what most bowls me over is when Chabon writes about being a Jew (as I am) and knowing all religion is fiction, but needing your religion to heal in tough times. (Here's the pathos, followed by a last sentence of typical Chabon-style wit.) The grandfather is in a synagogue in a strange town, saying the mourner's prayer ('kaddish') for his wife:

“When at last his moment came, he rose and stood, the only mourner at his end of the room, a solitary tower imprisoning an anonymous sorrow. First he wished for a Redeemer whose arrival he did not expect and a redemption he knew to be impossible. Then he told God all the nice things God seemed to need to hear about Himself. Finally, he wished for peace as it was conventionally understood, which he supposed was unobjectionable if no more likely than the coming of a messiah. At any rate, as Uncle Ray once explained to him, if you examined the language, the concluding lines of the kaddish might have been interpreted as a wish that God and everyone else would just, for once, leave the speaker and all his fellow Jews alone.”

I cannot kvell enough about this book. ( )
  badube | Mar 6, 2019 |
This is my favorite Michael Chabon novel since Kavalier and Clay - I haven't connected much with his other work since then. It was interesting and engaging, though I did feel a certain sense of removal with his use of titles (my mother, my grandfather, my grandmother) rather than names. Possibly intentional, but it definitely distanced me so I never felt like I was right along with the characters. ( )
  Katie_Roscher | Jan 18, 2019 |
A memoir/novel of a "Michael Chabon" telling the story of his grandfather's life while on his deathbed. From his time in WWII, to his obsession with rockets and Werner von Braun, and the trials of his mentally ill wife. Its a very poignant story that seems all too real, but was only loosely based on his real grandfather. He was inspired to begin writing the novel when he saw a vintage ad for a model rocket company called Chabon Scientific, a company he or no one in his family had ever heard of. Chabon is one of my favorite writers, so it was a must read for me, and a good one it was as well.

This edition was purchased at Hudson Books in an airport somewhere and the introductory letter Chabon wrote to Hudson's customers, was hilarious and almost worth the price of the book alone.
My grandparents forgave each other with the pragmatism of lovers in a plummeting airplane. There would be ample time for reproach in the event of their survival.

On a clear night in blacked-out countryside, in between bomber runs, when the tracer fire ceased and the searchlights went dark, the stars did not fill the sky so much as coat it like hoarfrost on a windowpane. You looked up and saw The Starry Night, he told me; you realized that Van Gogh was a realist painter.

As soon as he elevator doors closed and we started to go up, I felt a djinn of expectancy or dread (there was no difference) flicker to life in by belly.

8/10

S: 10/15/18 - 11/16/18 (33 Days) ( )
  mahsdad | Nov 30, 2018 |
I started to read this without knowing anything about it and accepted it initially as a biographical memoir, albeit one with a "health" warning regarding it's use of facts. I very soon realised that there is little to be gained by trying to work out what is fact (an impossible task anyway) and to accept it as a work of fiction with roots in fact. On this basis Chabon creates a multilayered kaleidoscopic delight of a novel, not so much magical as unreal realism. He explores with delight the cracks between the hard biographical facts to show how much that we value, much that makes us what we are, much that is passed on from generation to generation is found in those cracks. In the end, I felt that Chabon had revealed alot about himself whilst telling us very little, and even less that could be relied on as fact. 22 September 2018. ( )
  alanca | Oct 2, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 59 (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 (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chabon, Michaelprimary authorall 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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To them, seriously
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This is how I heard the story.
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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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"Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as "my grandfather." It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact--and the creative power--of keeping secrets and telling lies."--Dust jacket.… (more)

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