Customer Reviews for

Telegraph Avenue: A Novel

Average Rating 3.5
( 42 )
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(13)

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(9)

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(8)

2 Star

(5)

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(7)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

9 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

Great read

I love how Chabon has this ability to suck you into a story, to really know his characters and build from there. Pick this up and you wont regret it

posted by 10095414 on September 16, 2012

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

An aquired taste

It took me a while to warm up to these characters, so the virtuosity of Chabon's prose felt a bit like a dry exercise. I did eventually come to sympathize with them and ended up reading most of the book in one long binge. The accumulating layers of problems and loomin...
It took me a while to warm up to these characters, so the virtuosity of Chabon's prose felt a bit like a dry exercise. I did eventually come to sympathize with them and ended up reading most of the book in one long binge. The accumulating layers of problems and looming disasters faced by Archie, Nat and their various family members kept me turning pages, though i felt Chabon wrapped up all the loose ends too neatly to give readers a happy ending for everyone. Then i looked back and reconsidered the story as a kind of fable rather than an attempt at realism and that helped me appreciate rhe novel more. There are some interesting themes that I enjoyed mulling over as I read, and some funny lines, and of course, beautiful, brainy prose.


posted by Anonymous on July 1, 2013

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  • Posted October 6, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Brilliant Writing

    Tele­graph Avenue by Michael Chabon is a lit­er­ary fic­tion book in which the author jams so much in it’s a won­der the novel is not twice the size. Mr. Chabon is a Pulitzer prize win­ning author for his 2001 book The Amaz­ing Adven­tures of Kava­lier & Clay.

    Nat Jaffe and Archy Stallings are the own­ers of Broke­land Records, one of the few bas­tions of vinyl record stores left in Oak­land, CA circa 2004. In comes Gib­son Goode, ex-NFL star, multi-millionaire and entre­pre­neur who wants to open his Dog­pile mega­s­tore in the area. The mega­s­tore will force Broke­land Records, who are strug­gling as it is, to close.

    Nat’s wife, Aviva, and Archy’s wife, Gwen, are hav­ing their own strug­gles – they are mid­wives who have deliv­ered thou­sands of babies until one deliv­ery goes wrong and quickly turns ugly.

    Tele­graph Avenue by Michael Chabon is a strange book, if Quentin Taran­tino wrote a book I’d imag­ined it would be some­thing like this – bet­ter yet, if you had to read a Quentin Taran­tino movie, it would be exactly like this. A schiz­o­phrenic expe­ri­ence which will leave you dazed and some­what con­fused until things will clear up a few pages down – only for the cycle to be repeated again and again.

    The strange­ness doesn’t come from the story, which is quite sim­ple, but from the art­ful sto­ry­telling. There are many pop-culture ref­er­ences (includ­ing many to Taran­tino him­self), music, books, movies, TV shows and some made up ref­er­ences which only exist within the realm of the book.
    While I do enjoy pop-culture ref­er­ences in my read­ing, the sheer amount made the book dif­fi­cult to read, albeit enjoy­able in its own unique way. I’m usu­ally pretty good about esti­mat­ing how long a book would take me to read, this one took twice as long and could have eas­ily been more than that.

    So keep your favorite Inter­net search engine close by – you’ll need it.

    That being said, the book is rid­dled pop-culture and music. Many fine authors can write about pop-culture, but Chabon is the only one who can write music. Not writ­ing “about” music, but writ­ing music. When Chabon writes about a music pas­sage, I could almost hear it in my head even though I had no idea what he was refer­ring to, whether it was or wasn’t what I heard doesn’t mat­ter – I heard it.

    This book is a col­lege professor’s dream. You can cre­ate a whole course around it with ease. The book some­times goes into so many details it’s frus­trat­ing, but the obser­va­tions about our cul­ture and Amer­i­can lifestyles are encour­ag­ing and inter­est­ing. Of course, it could all be a smoke screen as Chabon says himself:

    "some Jew­ish dude try­ing to think like an ass-kicking soul sister".

    I felt the book was too long (some of the descrip­tions seem to go on for­ever), yet despite a need for an edi­tor, Chabon has man­aged to pro­duce another good book with excel­lent prose. I thought that the 12 page sen­tence was a lit­er­ary mar­vel which only few

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    Delightfully difficult

    If you've lived in the East Bay of San Francisco for 55 years you'll identify with Michael Chabon's book. There's so much nostalgia both in places and people that anyone growing up in the area will say, "been there, done that." The downside of the book is long strings of adjectives describing a person or place that you've lost track of by the time you get to a full stop. This said, Chabon is a master of fun insights and expressions, my favorite in Telegraph Avenue is Aviva saying her husband is "unable to organize an empty drawer".
    Michael Chabon captures the length of Telegraph Avenue stretching from Oakland to berkeley, from the vinyl '60s to the near present, and from black to liberal white lifestyles with a heavy smattering of kosher mixed with jazz. Persevere and be rewarded wonderfully. Way to go Michael.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2012

    enjoyed the storytelling and colorful use of language...yes, it

    enjoyed the storytelling and colorful use of language...yes, it took too long to tell it..and yes, at times it was ego eccentric in the telling...yet the story had to be told..and indeed told grandly..loved the hipness, culturally and phonetically...saw the characters in the story as real and heard the words they used in the process....left hanging on a point though..what happened to archy's dad??

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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