January Goodreads Book Review

'Telegraph Avenue'

Cover of Telegraph AvenueMichael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue centers on the story of Archy Stallings and Nate Jaffe, owners of a used record store, Brokeland Records, in Oakland. As the novel begins, the co-owners ponder their continued existence in the face of a new megastore opening a few blocks away from them.

Chabon’s narrative includes multiple sub-plots, in which the author offers commentary on the state of fatherhood, community and sexuality. The theme of fatherhood showcases the Stallings family, and Archy in particular, as he struggles with the prospect of becoming a father, both to his unborn child and to his newly rediscovered son.

The book is filled with imagery and references to the music and culture of the 1970s. Chabon drops vinyl references like a true fan, and keeps a constant soundtrack playing in your head. His vivid descriptions of Telegraph Avenue and Oakland as a whole serve to effectively make the city a character in the novel, one with as much personality as any of the major players.

Join us on Goodreads in the DC Public Library group for a spirited discussion of this and many other “Best of 2012” titles, and be sure to check out February’s “From Page to Screen” discussion!