Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Telegraph Avenue Readalong: The Church of Vinyl

So things are moving along in the lives of Michael Chabon's characters, albeit slowly. Gwen's mishap from part one is developing consequences, as is Archy's from 12 years ago if you want to put it like that. The fight over the future of Brokeland Records intensifies as the community rallies to support it at the same time that expectant father Archy is offered a job with Dogpile, the company moving in to build an urban superstore in Berkeley.

Telegraph Avenue is very definitely a style- and language-driven novel. As others have mentioned there are many quotable and memorable lines throughout the book; Chabon writes with a deliberate rhythm and verve. I wish his plot kept pace with his linguistic acrobatics. Reading the book itself is going very smoothly for me; I float along on the crest of Chabon's word-waves, letting the current pull me into the shore (plot) every now and then, but mostly enjoying the musicality of Chabon's language. I am a plot reader so books whose primary appeal factors are not plot are not usually books that hold my attention. But this one is.

I'm looking forward to seeing where it all leads.

You can follow more readalong posts at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads). Thanks to Emily and HarperCollins again for the readalong.

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Telegraph Avenue
by Michael Chabon
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I received an ARC of this book from HarperCollins in exchange for participating in the readalong.


Anonymous said...

I like your description of the word-waves that pull you to shore every now and then. It is how I feel as well. I likened it to the heat wave we're in right now and how when you sit outside in this kind of heat, it sort of sucks you in and you become part of it.

As the Crowe Flies and Reads said...

"I float along on the crest of Chabon's word-waves"

That's a pretty lyrical sentence in and of itself, Marie, and I completely agree. Although I'm loving the characters as much as I am the language, so the lack of active plot isn't at all an issue for me.

(as opposed to, say, Ford's Canada, which, despite the intensely perfect language, I found a snoozefest of exposition)

Nicole said...

Your summary pulled me more into what's going on that the book even did. Okay - I'm a sucker for language and yes - I love your description of word-waves. But I don't know. I find myself still waiting for that SOMETHING. Am I the only one still feeling this way? I was full of optimism at the beginning, and while I'm still liking it - I feel like I'm the only reader falling behind.

Kerry M said...

I'm loving Chabon's language so far, and the steady, plodding pace of the plot doesn't really bother me at all because I'm really enjoying the mere sentence. I love the idea of "word-waves," by the way.

Laurie said...

I appreciate your candid response, and now I realize that I must be quite an easy-going reader when it comes to plot, because I feel as though there are multiple conflicts among multiple characters driving the action forward and, although it's certainly not as plot-driven as a thriller or a romance, this novel's second chapter offers continuous movement. It would be interesting to have a conversation about what makes an effective and affecting plot, and how that aspect of story interacts with characterization and style.

Lindsey said...

I think he has a sort of musical writing style as well. It will be interesting to finish the book and see where all of the breaks appear. So far it feels like the sections ended well, without too much disruption of the flow.

Zibilee said...

I am glad that you are getting into it, as I would like to hear the final verdict on this one. He does have a way with language though, doesn't he?

Audra said...

Sadly, I'm kind of over the linguistic stylings -- I'm exhausted and feeling like I'm missing crucial elements in the story.

Brooks said...

I think I get what you're saying about the plot - it's not that there isn't a plot, it's just that it's all over the place and it hasn't started to come together yet. I felt like the final scene in the zeppelin really kicked the story into gear.

Kathleen said...

This is definitely one that has me intrigued and I want to know more. I do think I'd enjoy reading it.