Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Telegraph Avenue Readalong- Dream of Cream

So I'm through part one of Telegraph Avenue, entitled "Dream of Cream" after the favorite pastry of Archy, one of the main characters. The first part is composed of several strands of action and characters, but the main thrust involves two families and the demise of the American Dream in the form of a used-record store, a hip little decades-old joint serving collectors of rarified jazz and recent gems.

The owners are a Jewish family who've served the community for years, built a community of music lovers. A big company wants to build an all-purpose superstore of urban music and culture- including a used-record department- in a local mall. At the same time, Archy's got problems. His wife's pregnant and convinced he's cheating on her. She is a midwife with problems of her own, and there's more than that.

I will admit I have a somewhat shaky grasp on the characters and their relationships to one another. Chabon's style strikes me as flowery and almost over-descriptive; this is the first book of his I've read, and I've been reading a lot crime fiction and noirs lately, which are very different in style. I've therefore been finding the book a little difficult to penetrate. When I can force myself to slow down and linger over his lengthy descriptions, asides and tangents, it's fascinating and absorbing, and he is certainly an excellent stylist with a skill with language.  I'm going to read the rest of the posts from the readalong bloggers, then take a deep breath and dive into part two.

I'll be back next Tuesday with another post! Check out As the Crowe Flies (And Reads) for the rest of the readalong.

Pre-Order from Powell's:
Telegraph Avenue
by Michael Chabon
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I received an ARC of Telegraph Avenue, out in September, from HarperCollins for the readalong.