As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there—longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, two semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart—half tavern, half temple—stands Brokeland.
When ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complication to the couples' already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of fifteen-year-old Julius Jaffe's life.
An intimate epic, a NorCal Middlemarch set to the funky beat of classic vinyl soul-jazz and pulsing with a virtuosic, pyrotechnical style all its own,Telegraph Avenue is the great American novel we've been waiting for. Generous, imaginative, funny, moving, thrilling, humane, and triumphant. (Goodreads)
Having read the Amazing adventures of Kavalier and Clay, I was somewhat familiar with Chabon's wordy and colorful prose; when I heard Telegraph Avenue is about 'An independent record store facing the future' my interests had been piqued. Like 'Kavalier' all of the characters are heavily flawed, and have a Vonnegut-esque interdependence on their respective relevance as a plot device. While I do appreciate Chabon's verbose and plentiful use of metaphor and allegory, it does almost detract from the plot itself. I was expecting a story about an indy record shop, and it was, but so heavily mired in developing character and plot devices that it becomes the stream-of-consciousness typical of 'Kavalier', or indeed Kurt Vonnegut. A fun read, but has as much to do with running a record shop as 'Kavalier' is about coming up with the "superman" comic book series.
Tuesday, September 10th: Lavish Bookshelf
Wednesday, September 11th: Turn the Page
Tuesday, September 17th: guiltless reading
Monday, September 23rd: red headed book child
Tuesday, September 24th: missris
Wednesday, September 25th: Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Thursday, September 26th: A Bookish Way of Life
Monday, September 30th: What She Read …
Tuesday, October 1st: The House of the Seven Tails
Wednesday, October 2nd: As Usual, I Need More Bookshelves
Thursday, October 3rd: From L.A. to LA
Thursday, October 3rd: Amused By Books
Monday, October 7th: The Lost Entwife
Tuesday, October 8th: Nite Lite
Wednesday, October 9th: Too Fond
Thursday, October 10th: 50 Books Project
TBD: Seaside Book Corner
Thanks Sean for reviewing and thanks to Trish for letting us be on the tour!
Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!
red headed book child