Friday, September 07, 2007

There's No Such Thing as Bad Chabon, But...

Gentlemen of the Road: A Tale of Adventure, Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon could write almost anything and I’d want to read it because, to paraphrase one of his characters, his sentences sound like they’ve always existed in style heaven and he merely plucked them down and used them. This short novel is no exception; even when some of the words are unfamiliar, the language is unfailingly gorgeous.

In this work, which he originally wanted to call “Jews with Swords,” Chabon takes readers on an adventure through the Caucasus region 1,000 years ago. There are journeys and skirmishes and disguises, and even two well-drawn central characters. In short, there’s nothing in particular wrong with the book, and if you’re a Chabon fan you won’t regret reading it.

But in an afterword explaining why this new book is so different from his past work, Chabon says that he’s been chasing adventure in his writing, and he makes it sound like he won’t be penning another book like Wonder Boys or Kavalier and Clay for a while. That’s a shame. It’s one thing not to regret reading a book. But it would be a far better thing to love it.

This review has been posted on Gentlemen of the Road will be released October 30 and was provided for review early as part of Amazon's Vine program.

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