I loved Michael Chabon’s most recent book, Moonglow. I am also a big fan of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, one of my favorite books. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001.
I liken his writing to a Wes Anderson movie. Both have their own particular style, but if you like the style, you love the creative output of the author or writer/director.
Moonglow’s storyline is complex and weaves back and forth between the past and the present. The main character’s grandfather, a curmudgeonly, silent type, is dying and in his Dilaudid haze he has become verbose, confessionally talking to his grandson, one Mike Chabon, telling him never-before heard stories about his childhood, his adventures during World War II, and how he met his wife, the author’s grandmother.
The novel is essentially a series of love stories that build upon one another like Russian nesting dolls. Mike Chabon is the novel’s narrator, but he is not Michael Chabon, the book’s author. Mike is the one filling in the gaps left out from his grandfather’s stories, packing a myriad of footnotes, adding the tangents which serve as spicy addenda to the books many pages.
The grandparents are two broken people (but broken in different ways) who find one another and fall head over heels in love with one another. Their marriage is passionate and faithful, but the grandmother suffers from horrible nightmares and mental illness, a remnant from her experience as a hidden refugee in France during the war.
All of the characters have secrets that they hide from one another. The backward and forward lurching of the story builds to the pivotal explanation toward the end of the book, slyly inserted into the narrative almost as an afterthought.
This complex, layered book drew me in and had me spellbound. The phrasing is marvelous, so effervescent some pages sparkle. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough, yet I didn’t want it to end. If Chabon is your thing, dig into this one soon. Savor it.