Michael Chabon knows how to do narrative sweep; he knows how to write an epic. The author is skilled at knitting the various elements of a story together with material borrowed from a larger setting or theme. He achieved this to spectacular effect in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
- where the story of two teen boys growing up in 1930s New York City was set against the larger world of comic books. The dazzling novel earned Chabon a Pulitzer and many loyal fans.
Even if Chabon did produce other entertaining reads in between, it is his latest, Telegraph Avenue
, that attempts to recreate the narrative sweep and large-hearted vision of Kavalier
. The essential premise at the heart of this 450-page tome is pretty basic: business enterprises, no matter how noble their history, cannot survive the tidal forces of capitalism on the basis of good...
Beyond the Book
In Telegraph Avenue
, Luther Stallings, Archy's dad, was once a star in blaxploitation films that were all the rage in the '70s. Even though the term appears to be a loaded word, blaxploitation movies were actually powerful vehicles of self-identification for many blacks. Understandably this view was not held by all. Many black organizations including the NAACP believed most blaxploitation movies reinforced common white stereotypes about black people.
During the heyday of blaxploitation movies in the early '70s, the civil rights movement was still a nascent thing and black stars - especially leading heroes - were...