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Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon
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Gentlemen of the Road (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Michael Chabon

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
2,2741222,811 (3.43)1 / 229
Member:gcoupe
Title:Gentlemen of the Road
Authors:Michael Chabon
Info:Sceptre (2007), Hardcover, 224 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:
Tags:fiction

Work details

Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure by Michael Chabon (2007)

  1. 50
    The First Book of Lankhmar by Fritz Leiber (Runkst)
  2. 30
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    LamontCranston: Amram and Zelikman are clearly based on Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, the story the sort of adventure they might have got up to.
  3. 00
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    MarkYoung: Similar humour, in this intelligent historical novel.
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English (116)  French (3)  Danish (2)  Dutch (1)  All languages (122)
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
If Robert E. Howard had been writing his historical adventure fiction at the beginning of the 21st century instead of toward the beginning of the 20th, this book might very well have come from his pen. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who enjoyed the Howard collection "Sword Woman."
Still, while I'm recommending it, it's not without its flaws - some of those the same as I feel the Howard stories contain. The narrative can get bogged down in technical details that impede the flow of the tale, and the characterization is fairly basic. The 'big reveal' here is also pretty obvious right from the beginning.

This is a fun little book, but it's really not in the same category as 'Yiddish Policeman' or 'Kavalier & Clay."
( )
  AltheaAnn | Feb 9, 2016 |
Chabon is one of my favorite authors, and as such, I'll read just about everything he releases. So when I saw this, I had to pick it up.

This is a "serial" novel of a swashbuckling tale set in the 10th Century Southwest Russia. Chabon said that his working title when he was writing these stories was, "Jews with Swords". When he learned of the history of this area and of the Jewish Khazar kingdoms, he was compelled to research and write about this era.

The main characters are Amram (an African warrior/mercenary) and his friend and partner Zelikman (a German physician). During their travels, looking for work and adventure, they find themselves in the middle of a political power struggle and war in the kingdom of Arram. The series of what I would call vignettes were originally published in serial form in the New York Times magazine. While all connected, as you would expect from a magazine serial, they seemed a little disjointed to me in full book form, as if there were some missing pieces in between each section. At any rate, it was a very enjoyable read. It was interesting reading about the adventure/rogue tropes set against a society and geography that was completely new to me.

8/10

S: 1/3/15 - F: 1/15/16 (13 Days) ( )
  mahsdad | Jan 29, 2016 |
I like Chabon cause despite all the talent and the awards, etc, he doesn't take himself too seriously. This short novel was a classic adventure story as they were written in the 19th century. great fun... Chabon has no bones about writing in what some call 'the genres'... this, The Final Solution, even The Yiddish Policemen's Union... all very good.
Also, his afterward is worth the price of the book alone. ( )
  BooksForDinner | Jan 20, 2016 |
I'm rewriting my review now that the book has finally come out (read it in August as an advance); I knew it would divide fans and perplex even more.

"Gentlemen of the Road" draws from what some might call 'pulp' fiction styles, or in other cases 'adventure fiction'. The language is very much a product of these styles of writing; frankly, prose was more complex back then (not that I'm saying it was better, but it was definitely different)-- longer sentences, oddly constructed, and florid.
If you have read Dumas, Sabatini, or any fantasy writer of the 20s, 30s, and 40s that was NOT Tolkien, you'll find traces of them in Chabon's book.

"Gentlemen of the Road" is a tribute to an overlooked style of storytelling, and an overlooked period in Jewish history. This one will define the true fans from the fair-weather dabblers.

I love Chabon's literary career arc: full of novels and projects he feels like doing 'cause it's fun, 'literary' establishment credibility be damned!
( )
  VladVerano | Oct 20, 2015 |
Well this was a boring, steaming heap of...absolutely nothing. Nothing of any interest happened in this whatsoever. I'm starting to think that the only qualifier to be a Pulitzer author is to write stuff that shows life as mundane as possible. ( )
  benuathanasia | Oct 10, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 116 (next | show all)
The plot and voice of “Gentlemen of the Road” recall the stories found in 19th-century dime novels and the fantastic escapades invented by Edgar Rice Burroughs and H. Rider Haggard. Gary Gianni’s drawings highlight particularly thrilling moments, and with chapter titles like “On the Observance of the Fourth Commandment Among Horse Thieves” and “On Swimming to the Library at the Heart of the World,” Chabon works old-fashioned niceties into a postmodern pastiche.
 

» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Chabonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gianni, GaryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Philippe, Isabelle-DTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Despising all my glory, abandoning my high estate, leaving my family, I would go over mountains and hills, through seas and lands, till I should arrive at the place where my Lord the King resides, that i might see not only his glory and magnificence, and that of his servants and ministers, but also the tranquility of the Israelites. On beholding this my eyes would brighten, my reins would exult, my lips would pour forth praises to God, who has not withdrawn his favor from his afflicted ones.
—letter of Hasdai Ibn Shaprut,
minister of the Caliph of Spain, to Joseph,
ruler of Khazaria, circa 960
From now on, I'll describe the cities to you," the Khan had said, "in your journeys you will see if they exist."
—Italo Calvino, Invisible Cities
Dedication
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
À Michael Moorcock
First words
For numberless years a myna had astounded travelers to the caravansary with its ability to spew indecencies in ten languages, and before the fight broke out everyone assumed the old blue-tongued devil on its perch by the fireplace was the one who maligned the giant African with such foulness and verve.
Quotations
On that plain of mud and grass and staring faces, along the battlements and bartizans of the walls of Atil barbed with pikemen and archers, from the Black Sea to the Sea of Khazar, from the Urals to the Caucasus, there was no sound but the wind in the grass, the clop of a sidestepping horse, the broken breathing of the Little Elephant, Filaq, with whom they had marched and slept and shivered, the son, the prince they had raised up on their sholders to rule them as their bek, the revenger of the rape of their sisters and teh burning of their houses and the pillage of their goods. All Zelikman's disdain, all his resentment toward the foul-mouthed spoiled stripling who had plagued him since the rescue at the carvansary vanished with the double shock of the elephant's slaughter and the revelation. In their place he felt only pity for a white thing flecked with mud, a motherless girl, drooping in the grip of the soldier like a captured flag.
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Book description
Tom Petty in the Don't Around Here No More video and Michael Clark Duncan's dad are Jewish cut-throats/anti-heroes in 900 AD.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0345501748, Hardcover)

Michael Chabon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning bestseller, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, sprang from an early passion for the derring-do and larger-than-life heroes of classic comic books. Now, once more mining the rich past, Chabon summons the rollicking spirit of legendary adventures–from The Arabian Nights to Alexandre Dumas to Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser stories–in a wonderful new novel brimming with breathless action, raucous humor, cliff-hanging suspense, and a cast of colorful characters worthy of Scheherazade’s most tantalizing tales.

They’re an odd pair, to be sure: pale, rail-thin, black-clad Zelikman, a moody, itinerant physician fond of jaunty headgear, and ex-soldier Amram, a gray-haired giant of a man as quick with a razor-tongued witticism as he is with a sharpened battle-ax. Brothers under the skin, comrades in arms, they make their rootless way through the Caucasus Mountains, circa A.D. 950, living as they please and surviving however they can–as blades and thieves for hire and as practiced bamboozlers, cheerfully separating the gullible from their money. No strangers to tight scrapes and close shaves, they’ve left many a fist shaking in their dust, tasted their share of enemy steel, and made good any number of hasty exits under hostile circumstances.

None of which has necessarily prepared them to be dragooned into service as escorts and defenders to a prince of the Khazar Empire. Usurped by his brutal uncle, the callow and decidedly ill-tempered young royal burns to reclaim his rightful throne. But doing so will demand wicked cunning, outrageous daring, and foolhardy bravado . . . not to mention an army. Zelikman and Amram can at least supply the former. But are these gentlemen of the road prepared to become generals in a full-scale revolution? The only certainty is that getting there–along a path paved with warriors and whores, evil emperors and extraordinary elephants, secrets, swordplay, and such stuff as the grandest adventures are made of–will be much more than half the fun.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:52 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

"They're an odd pair, to be sure: pale, rail-thin, black-clad Zelikman, a moody, itinerant physician fond of jaunty headgear, and ex-soldier Amram, a gray-haired giant of a man as quick with a razor-tongued witticism as he is with a sharpened battle-ax. Brothers under the skin, comrades in arms, they make their rootless way through the Caucasus Mountains, circa A.D. 950, living as they please and surviving however they can - as blades and thieves for hire and as practiced bamboozlers, cheerfully separating the gullible from their money. No strangers to tight scrapes and close shaves, they've left many a fist shaking in their dust, tasted their share of enemy steel, and made good any number of hasty exits under hostile circumstances." "None of which has necessarily prepared them to be dragooned into service as escorts and defenders to a prince of the Khazar Empire. Usurped by his brutal uncle, the callow and decidedly ill-tempered young royal burns to reclaim his rightful throne. But doing so will demand wicked cunning, outrageous daring, and fool-hardy bravado ... not to mention an army. Zelikman and Amram can at least supply the former. But are these gentlemen of the road prepared to become generals in a full-scale revolution? The only certainty is that getting there - along a path paved with warriors and whores, evil emperors and extraordinary elephants, secrets, swordplay; and such stuff as the grandest adventures are made of - will be much more than half the fun."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

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