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Moonglow (2016)

by Michael Chabon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,035817,541 (3.91)1 / 226
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.
  1. 00
    The Way the Crow Flies by Ann-Marie MacDonald (rab1953)
    rab1953: Another brilliant exploration of the American moon program through personal family stories

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» See also 226 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 80 (next | show all)
3.1/5 ( )
  jarrettbrown | Jul 4, 2023 |
Chabon's novel is a fictional memoir of the narrator's maternal grandfather. The grandfather was a mechanically gifted but easily angered young man with a consuming interest in rocketry and space travel. He ends up in a form of secret military special forces looking for V2 assets for the US in Germany after WWII. He meets his future wife after the war. She is a war-damaged apparent holocaust survivor with a daughter by a previous marriage. The vicissitudes of this family related in a partially time shifted account is the structure of the novel. Chabon is a pleasure to read, and his Jewish mixture of comedy and tragedy is compelling. In an interview at the end of the text, Chabon admits that the memoir's grandfather has many of his own characteristics. He comments that, "My stories are all .... tales of solitude and the grand pursuit of connection, of success and the inevitability of defeat." and "by being almost completely fiction, the book manages to get at essential truths about himself that memoir would not have been able to access." ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
This book is my second by Michael Chabon; the first being [b:The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay|3985|The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay|Michael Chabon|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1479660066s/3985.jpg|2693329]. Of the two, I definitely preferred Moonglow, but somehow I can't quite decide if I like Chabon or not. Here, he tells the story of this grandfather, and it isn't quite clear what is fictional and what is true. Regardless, the grandfather is an interesting man who is obsessed with the moon and the idea of colonizing it. During World War II, he becomes determined to hunt down the Nazi scientist who created the V-2 rocket, using concentration camp laborers. He is married to a mentally ill woman with whom he is deeply in love.

These stories are interwoven with the current time period where the grandfather is dying of cancer.

Chabon jumps around in time and between storylines. This type of non-linear storytelling never seems to turn me on. As soon as I start getting engaged in one aspect of the story, the story shifts, inevitably to something of lesser interest. Something about the way Chabon starts his chapters often fails to suck me in, and that's a shame, because he does dialogue and character development really, really well. He also is excellent at weaving in a strong literary theme (even if he does hit you over the head with it a bit).

This book teetered toward the four star realm for me, but it was so easy for me to put it down that I knew I just wasn't really engaged completely.

Tip: Some chapters that start with a few paragraphs of dullness turned out to be really important. I skimmed them, and that was a mistake. Chapters 22-24 are critical, and I ended up needing to go back and re-read. ( )
1 vote Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
Fictional account of part of the narrator’s grandfather’s life, as told from his hospital bed during his last days. Filled with non-linear vignettes, portions of the story relate to such diverse topics as WWII, the American space program, mental illness, a New York prison experience, and a python on the loose in Florida. After reading another of the Chabon’s books that I enjoyed immensely, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, I was disappointed to find this book a bit of a jumble. I was not inspired to care about the characters, the story jumped around so much that it was hard to recall where the last bit left off, and certain episodes appeared to have no discernable point. It contains unnecessary references to bodily functions, his grandfather’s sexual activities, and vulgarity. Early on we are led to believe the grandmother was in a concentration camp during WWII but no one ever asks how her baby daughter would have survived such a camp. Ultimately, I found it a promising concept that led nowhere. ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
2022 book #50. 2016. The author tells the (maybe true) story of his grandfather who led an interesting, if excentric life. Told in a non-chronological order it was hard to follow at times but an enjoyable story anyway. ( )
  capewood | Aug 6, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 80 (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
To them, seriously
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This is how I heard the story.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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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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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