Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabon

This book's beautiful cover art has been tempting me for a few years now, but I managed to avoid it until it popped up on the Library Sale shelves for 50 cents and I took the plunge. I have mixed feelings about the author, as I feel he's talented but I've read a couple of his books now and I feel like they don't quite live up to the hype. This was no exception. I really liked the main characters and the noir mood/setting, and the story drew me in, but the resolution just ... wasn't as satisfying as I might have liked. That said, the writing was excellent.

One thing I feel compelled to mention is my shock at reading that some reviewers dogged the book as being full of Yiddish and therefore incomprehensible. Which book were these people reading? I'm a shiksa* with just a passing knowledge of random Yiddish words beyond several variations of oy vey**, but this book is not so full of Yiddish that those with no knowledge of it would have trouble understanding the book as written. In addition, the book includes a glossary so.... not sure what this ridiculous, baseless criticism is really about. As a language person (so therefore I am admittedly biased to enjoy the inclusion of other languages in books) I found this annoying. For the record, I loved the Yiddish, including the slang the author invented.

*a not-Jewish female
** in case you're curious, my favorite is oy vey iz mir

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