Moonglow by Michael Chabon
My Rating: 💙💙💙 (Liked It)
Publisher: HaperCollins UK
Narrator: George Newbern
Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
Synopsis/Blurb (taken from Goodreads):
“In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother’s home in Oakland, California to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon’s grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten. That dreamlike week of revelations forms the basis for the novel Moonglow, the latest feat of legerdemain in the ongoing magic act that is the art of Michael Chabon.
Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies. A gripping, poignant, tragicomic, scrupulously researched and wholly imaginary transcript of a life that spanned the dark heart of the twentieth century, Moonglow is also a tour de force of speculative history in which Chabon attempts to reconstruct the mysterious origins and fate of Chabon Scientific, Co., an authentic mail-order novelty company whose ads for scale models of human skeletons, combustion engines and space rockets were once a fixture in the back pages of Esquire, Popular Mechanics, and Boy’s Life. Along the way Chabon devises and reveals, in bits and pieces whose hallucinatory intensity is matched only by their comic vigor and the radiant moonglow of his prose, a secret history of his own imagination.
From the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of New York’s Wallkill Prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of “the American Century,” Moonglow collapses an era into a single life and a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional non-fiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most daring, his most moving, his most Chabonesque.”
I’ve had this on my TBR list since it first came out. I finally managed to get an audiobook from my local library. I didn’t actually know what the book was about because I’ve never read the description of the book. Even, when I started listening to it I still had no idea.
I listened to this book on my bus journeys so managed to get through quite a lot of it while out and about.
I had mixed feelings about this book. On one hand I enjoyed and on the other I didn’t. I thought the story was good but at time it was a little slow and the story does jump around and is in no particular order, but it works well enough.
For me the second half of the book was better than the first half. The second half of the book had more impact on me and was less predictable.
One of my main frustrations with this book was that you don’t learn the names of the main characters. Why do authors do this? I don’t see the point, I prefer when characters have names as it makes feel I know them better.
Chaban, provides some interesting information, however in places I thought he didn’t use enough descriptions and in other places he used a bit too much.
I really enjoyed listening to the narrator of this book, he had a nice soothing voice that I felt was perfect for this book.
Overall, I liked this book, even though I have a lot of negative thoughts about it and do recommend it to others to at least try it.