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2016 National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for Fiction
Following on the heels of his New York Times bestselling novel Telegraph Avenue, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon delivers another literary masterpiece: a novel of truth and lies, family legends, and existential adventure—and the forces that work to destroy us.
In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother's home in Oakland, California, to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon's grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten. That dreamlike week of revelations forms the basis for the novel Moonglow, the latest feat of legerdemain from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon.
Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as "my grandfather." It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of keeping secrets and telling lies. It is a portrait of the difficult but passionate love between the narrator’s grandfather and his grandmother, an enigmatic woman broken by her experience growing up in war-torn France. It is also a tour de force of speculative autobiography in which Chabon devises and reveals a secret history of his own imagination.
From the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of New York's Wallkill prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of the "American Century," the novel revisits an entire era through a single life and collapses a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional nonfiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most moving and inventive.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.60(d)|
About the Author
Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Summerland (a novel for children), The Final Solution, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, and Gentlemen of the Road, as well as the short story collections A Model World and Werewolves in Their Youth and the essay collections Maps and Legends and Manhood for Amateurs. He is the chairman of the board of the MacDowell Colony. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.
Date of Birth:May 24, 1963
Place of Birth:Washington, D.C.
Education:B.A., University of Pittsburgh; M.F.A., University of California at Irvine
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Rising author Michael Chabon is spending the last days of his grandfather's life with the dying man. The old man has finally relented to telling some of the stories of his unique life to the young man. How much of the tale is augmented and adjusted by time, how much by the powerful prescription painkillers keeping the cancer's wrath at bay – and how much by telling one's life story to a man who makes his living telling fantastic moralistic tales? Author Chabon makes no secret of the fact that this life story of his grandfather blurs the line between fact and fiction, but rather weaves the two components into a touching salute to the man who provided his greatest influence in life. How much is fact, and how much is simply invented? We'll never know. What we DO find out is that a number of influences in the old man's life combined to form, mold, and evolve him - Wernher Von Braun, Alger Hiss, Nevermore the Night Witch of late night Baltimore TV, and some documentary on feral animals in Florida, for example. Chabon is not above picking on himself, as well, as when Grandfather admonishes the young man to tell his story in chronological order rather than that “jumping then and now” style the boy employs. (NOTE: Chabon does NOT follow this advice in the book – and he revels in it.) All in all, a loving tribute not only to family, BUT to the America of the 20th century. For Grandfather's tale, triumphs and failures, IS the tale of the United States from the 1930s through the 1990s RATING: 5 stars DISCLOSURE: I was provided with a complimentary copy of this book in a random draw without obligation, although it was suggested that an honest review posted promptly would be greatly appreciated.
Moonglow by Michael Chabon After reading "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" some years back, I was excited to take a look at Chabon's new book. It's a fictionalized account of his grandfather's life after Chabon had an extended conversation with his maternal grandfather when the old man was dying in 1989. Chabon's characters are complex, flawed and multidimensional and his grandfather is no exception. His grandfather's story begins when he's a boy and follows him through young adulthood, military service during WWII, married life, a stint in prison and through to old age, assisted living and death. This book is a novel wrapped in an autobiography disguised as a memoir. It's hard to summarize this novel, as the plot is not linear but instead darts back and forth across time and topic. I did not enjoy the first person point of view. I felt that I was just skimming the book because I could not identify with the main character. It was hard to finish the novel. I found my mind wandering as I read. I just couldn't care. So disappointed.
Engineering and logic done in by the messiness of love , and war. Touching and for me a Sputnik kid, somehow nostalgic . Beautifully written .
Not sure if it was the writer or the back and forth story but I did not care for it.
Moonglow by Michael Chabon is a highly recommended fictional nonfiction account of his grandfather's life. It is: "A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional nonfiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir. Chabon tells us right at the start in an Author's Note that: "In preparing this memoir, I have stuck to the facts, except when facts refused to conform with memory, narrative purpose, or the truth as I prefer to understand it. Whatever liberties have been taken with names, dates, places, events, and conversations, or with the identities, motivations, and the interrelationships of family members and historical personages, the reader is assured that they have been taken with due abandon." In 1989 Chabon traveled to see his terminally ill grandfather. Although he was a terse man of few words his whole life, the strong painkillers he was on helped him overcome this and he shared his memories and stories about his life with his grandson. What results is a tour de force of a speculative family biography. "It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of keeping secrets and telling lies. It is a portrait of the difficult but passionate love between the narrator’s grandfather and his grandmother, an enigmatic woman broken by her experience growing up in war-torn France." It is a family history written as a novel, or a "speculative autobiography." The narrative doesn't follow a continuous timeline, but, rather, jumps back and forth in time, much like what would occur when a dying man is telling stories about his past to a grandson. Locations range from South Philadelphia to a Florida retirement village to Germany to New York’s Wallkill prison. This is the span of a lifetime reduced to a novel. His grandfather wanted him to write it all down and make his life mean something. There are also several poignant stories dealing with Chabon's grandmother, who suffered from voices and visions. Her mental illness was evident to her husband and daughter, Chabon's mother. The writing is outstanding, as one would expect from Chabon. The characters are all well-developed and carefully depicted as real people with flaws and foibles but memorable. While telling his grandfather's story, he carefully provides historical details to set the the time and place. There is a lot of storytelling here with some digressions with related, relevant information, but the end result is worth working through the extra information. It's a genre bending novel - is it fiction or nonfiction or a combination of both? Perhaps there are kernels of truth with lavish extra embellishments? Disclosure: My advanced reading copy was courtesy of the publisher/author.