Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Yiddish Detective Book by Michel Chabon

The book The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon:

I finished reading this book several months ago and somehow put it on the back burner to give a review on it later. Then, promptly forgot about it.

My son Rocky gave it to me as a gift because he knew I liked Chabon’s other book The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” which was a story about comic book creators that started back in 30s and worked itself up to modern times.

As I said, I forgot all about the book and in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution’s Sunday Arts & Books section they had an article about Michael Chabon, which jarred me back to reality.

The protagonist is a so-so detective who's ex-wife is the head of his the police department. A murder occurs in the flea-ridden hotel hotel he had a room at. A little later we learn that his plane pilot sister was killed was tied in to the same people he is investigating for this homicide... he takes it personal and away we go!

Over all, I thought it was a good detective novel that covered a lot of territory. By a lot of territory, I do mean a lot of territory, it takes place in Alaska right after statehood time.

And it seemed the whole territory was populated by Jews. They were police Jews, good Jews, bad Jews, gangster Jews, and a few scattered Indians here and there.

On every page was Yiddish colloquialism which was very hard for a Southern raised Baptist to comprehend. Many times I had to re-read the paragraph or sometimes the whole chapter, when whole new city or hospital would have slipped by my eyes.

I mentioned to fellow blogger Suzanne about having a difficult time understanding it all and she said her aunt, who grew up with Yiddish in the household also had a difficult time.

It was a good “who done it” detective novel with some international intrigue with a historical significance.

And not only that but you could feel the cold Alaskan weather, and good luck following the Yiddish.



Anonymous Suzanne said...

A glick ahf dir!

(I had to luck this up, but it is used sarcastically to say "And good luck to you!")

5:53 AM  
Blogger Suzanne Reisman said...

Ooops - that should say "I had to LOOK this up, not luck this up..."

5:54 AM  
Blogger ET said...


Thank you for the glick afd dir!
No problem, I do that all the tom.

6:22 AM  
Blogger Suzanne said...

Ach, nobody's perfect. :)

9:46 PM  
Blogger ET said...

I know at least one two people that would argue with you on that.

3:28 AM  
Blogger Cappy said...

Southern and looking for a YiddishAssist? Ellison here can fix you right up! http://elisson1.blogspot.com/

9:28 AM  
Blogger ET said...

Thanks for the information. I finished the Yiddish police detective book, so hopefully, my Yiddish days are behind me.

9:35 AM  

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