Book Group Discussion: Michael Chabon’s Yiddish Policeman’s Union

And here are some gems of wisdom from tonight’s book group. The subject: Michael Chabon’s Yiddish Policeman’s Union. If you’ve read the book, join in the discussion!

The group says: Recommended to mystery readers, but not to SF readers. Don’t expect this to be SF, in spite of the Nebula. Striking a blow for Speculative Fiction as a fantastic genre, we wonder.

Also, does this book help the reader understand Jewish history, or does this perpetuate Jewish stereotypes? What does someone Jewish think of the book? Tracie says she’s Jewish, and she’s okay with it. A lot of fruitful discussion here. Michele actually want out and did culture research.

Is genre more important than character here? Can we push the chess metaphor?

Spoiler’s Ahead. (NOTE: There is a Michele and a Michelle. Just so you know.)

It’s a great mystery, but not SF. It took us a while to get into the book. The article at the end of the book helps the reader to understand the book. Chabon is a proponent of genre writing. It’s acceptable and welcome. But Chabon wasn’t trying to make this an SF book. Why the Nebula?

Mark says that there was no SF premise. This could have been set anywhere at any time. If it’s a mystery, it’s okay. But it’s not supposed to be a mystery.

Lindsay says that she really likes the book. It was really masculine, so she had some trouble getting into it. Very noir.

Michelle says it’s the best detective mystery writer who’s living who she liked. She feels the Messiah idea is tacked on.

Michele says it’s wordy. She’s kind of meh about it. Michele wants to know about the book after the book. What happens to the book. Lots of issues not resolved. Was he pushing literary tropes, exaggerating to make his genre point?

Tracie has similar things to add. Sister thing not resolved well. Also did not care for the present tense.

Cath likes the writing and the lines. Cath wonders if speculative fiction is the reason that it was a Nebula contender. The (non)genre of “Literary” fiction often considered ambiguous.

Author: Catherine Schaff-Stump

Catherine Schaff-Stump writes fiction for children and young adults. Her most recent book, The Vessel of Ra, is the first book in the Klaereon Scroll series. She is currently working on its sequel, as well as penning the middle grade adventures of Abigail Rath, monster hunter.

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