Fans of great literature and mysteries so compulsive you can't put them down will be thrilled with Michael Chabon's newest work. The Yiddish Policemen's Union (HarperCollins, May 1) envisions a Jewish state in Alaska, settled after WWII. This is a world that fully embraces the descriptive powers of the Yiddish language, with Orthodox gangs in earlocks and boundary mavens who mark the invisible limits for the faithful. Down on his luck, Detective Meyer becomes ensnared in the murder of a chess prodigy/junkie. He quickly becomes obsessed with the case, despite pressure to drop his investigation. Chabon has enormous talent for creating all the details of this fascinating world while also speaking to the bigger issues of faith and identity. As Chabon says, it's a strange time to be a Jew. With a style reminiscent of the best of noir fiction, The Yiddish Policemen's Union is a unique and brilliant book.
Volume 254 Issue 16 04/16/2007