As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there - longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, two semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart - half tavern, half temple - stands Brokeland.
When exNFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complication to the couples' already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of fifteen-year-old Julius Jaffe's life.
An intimate epic, a NorCal Middlemarch set to the funky beat of classic vinyl soul-jazz and pulsing with a virtuosic, pyrotechnical style all its own, Telegraph Avenue is the great American novel we've been waiting for. Generous, imaginative, funny, moving, thrilling, humane, triumphant, it is Michael Chabon's most dazzling book yet.
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. (Reviewed by Poornima Apte).
A beautiful, prismatic maximalism of description and tone, a sly meditation on appropriation as the real engine of integration, and an excellent rationale for twelve-page sentences.
Chabon’s hugely likable characters all face crises of existential magnitude, rendered in an Electra Glide flow of Zen sentences and zinging metaphors that make us wish the needle would never arrive at the final groove.
A genuinely moving story about race and class, parenting and marriage…Chabon is inarguably one of the greatest prose stylists of all time, powering out sentences that are the equivalent of executing a triple back flip on a bucking bull while juggling chain saws and making love to three women.
'Virtuosity' is the word most commonly associated with Chabon, and if Telegraph Avenue, the latest from Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Yiddish Policeman'’s Union, is at first glance less conceptual than its predecessors, the sentences are no less remarkable.
Starred Review. A magnificently crafted, exuberantly alive, emotionally lustrous, and socially intricate saga....Bubbling with lovingly curated knowledge about everything from jazz to pregnancy…Chabon's rhapsodically detailed, buoyantly plotted, warmly intimate cross-cultural tale of metamorphoses is electric with suspense, humor, and bebop dialogue….An embracing, radiant masterpiece...
Starred Review. An end-of-an era epic....A Joyce-an remix with a hipper rhythm track.
Starred Review. If any novelist can pack the entire American zeitgeist into 500 pages, it’s Chabon....Ambitious, densely written, sometimes very funny, and fabulously over the top, here’s a rare book that really could be the great American novel.
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 not commonly found on the mainstream Hollywood big screen. Sure there was Sidney Poitier who starred most famously in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, but he was the exception that proved the rule: blacks were not going to become big-budget stars in Hollywood any time soon. Blaxploitation movies...
American Dream Machine is the story of two talent agents and their three troubled boys, heirs to Hollywood royalty. It's a sweeping narrative about fathers and sons, the movie business, and the sundry sea changes that have shaped Hollywood and, by extension, American life
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...