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June 1&15, 2013 BOOKLIST
Titles similar to Telegraph Avenue
Even though protean and wizardly Chabon has written an array of stellar books since The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000), it has reigned supreme as his magnum opus. Until, perhaps, the advent of this even more magnificently crafted, exuberantly alive, emotionally lustrous, and socially intricate saga anchored to Brokeland Records, a funky used-vinyl paradise on the border of Oakland and Berkeley. The proprietors are “mountainous” Archy Stallings and high-strung Nat Jaffe, whose wives, too, work together, in a midwifery partnership. Gwen is pregnant with her and Archy’s first child. Aviva and Nat have a smart, artistic, gay teenage son. A difficult birth puts Gwen and Aviva’s business in jeopardy, just as Archy and Nat face potentially insurmountable competition in the form of a planned megastore. Archy also finds himself contending with a teenage son he’s never met before and his down-and-out father, a former blaxploitation film star. This core group of African American and Jewish friends is surrounded by a vivid, scheming supporting cast. Bubbling with lovingly curated knowledge about everything from jazz to pregnancy to airships, Chabon’s rhapsodically detailed, buoyantly plotted, warmly intimate cross-cultural tale of metamorphoses is electric with suspense, humor, and bebop dialogue. A virtuoso, soulful, and wise story of fathers and sons, friendship and marriage, music and meaningful work, and the spirit of a storied American neighborhood.
HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Chabon’s embracing, radiant masterpiece will be the talk of the season.