on life, music etc beyond mainstream

2012 23 Aug

Promising, surreal, and forthcoming: Michael Chabon’s new novel

von: Manafonistas Filed under: Blog | TB | Comments off

Michael Chabon sets his sprawling new novel, Telegraph Avenue, in his adopted home of Berkeley, Calif., and its grittier southern neighbor, Oakland. With its multiracial, multigenerational cast of jazz musicians, former blaxploitation stars, midwives, gay teens and Black Panthers-turned-politicians, the book both celebrates and gently sends up the countercultural norms and complex racial politics of East Bay life. The plot nominally revolves around Archy Stallings‘ and Nat Jaffe’s efforts to save their used-record store (located on the eponymous Telegraph Avenue), which is threatened when a black football legend and entrepreneur makes plans to locate a media megastore in the neighborhood. (source:

Michael Chabons nicht zuletzt an Nabokov geschulter Stil ist Geschmackssache. Die oft langen, verschachtelten Sätze können manieriert wirken, wenn sich eine Geschichte allzu langsam entwickelt. Die Sprachideen können die Handlungsideen lähmen, und so habe ich von ihm Bücher gelesen, die mich mal begeistert, mal gelangweilt haben. Die Inhaltsangabe des neuen Romans scheint auf ein grosses Feuerwerk hinzudeuten, in dem die Balance von Sprachvirtuosität, diversen Dialekten und „action“ wieder eine ganz gelungene sein könnte. Für die Übersetzung wird der Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch wieder Spitzenleute brauchen, und Zeit. (M.E.)

Excerpt: „Hello?“ Gwen called, letting herself in the front door. A small black Buddha greeted her from a low table by the front door, where it kept company with a photograph of Lydia Frankenthaler, the producer of an Oscar­-winning documentary film about the neglected plight of lesbians in Nazi Germany; Lydia’s partner, Garth; and Lydia’s daughter from her first marriage, a child whose father was black and whose name Gwen had forgotten. It was a Chinese Buddha, the kind that was supposed to pull in money and luck, jolly, baby­faced, and potbellied, reminding Gwen of her darling husband apart from the signal difference that you could rub the continental expanse of Archy Stallings’s abdomen for a very long time without attracting any flow of money in your direction. „Somebody having a baby around here?“

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