Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (September 14)

My choice of book for this week’s book meme combo is The Yiddish Policemen’s Union by Michael Chabon. I picked this up for a quarter at a thrift store a few weeks ago, but know nothing much about it. I just liked the look of it. GoodReads gives the following description:

For sixty years, Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a “temporary” safe haven created in the wake of revelations of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. Proud, grateful, and longing to be American, the Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant, gritty, soulful, and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. For sixty years they have been left alone, neglected and half-forgotten in a backwater of history. Now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end: once again the tides of history threaten to sweep them up and carry them off into the unknown.

But homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. He and his half-Tlingit partner, Berko Shemets, can’t catch a break in any of their outstanding cases. Landsman’s new supervisor is the love of his life–and also his worst nightmare. And in the cheap hotel where he has washed up, someone has just committed a murder–right under Landsman’s nose. Out of habit, obligation, and a mysterious sense that it somehow offers him a shot at redeeming himself, Landsman begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy. But when word comes down from on high that the case is to be dropped immediately, Landsman soon finds himself contending with all the powerful forces of faith, obsession, hopefulness, evil, and salvation that are his heritage–and with the unfinished business of his marriage to Bina Gelbfish, the one person who understands his darkest fears.

At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, an homage to 1940s noir, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption, “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” is a novel only Michael Chabon could have written.

Now for this week’s excerpts:

Book Beginnings is hosted by Gilion at Rose City Reader, who invites anyone to join in, saying: ‘Please join me every Friday to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.  Please remember to include the title of the book and the author. Leave a link to your post.  If you don’t have a blog, but want to participate, please leave a comment with your Book Beginning.’

The beginning of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union:

Nine months Landsman’s been flopping at the Hotel Zamenhof without any of his fellow residents managing to get themselves murdered. Now somebody has put a bullet in the brain of the occupant of 208, a yid who was calling himself Emanuel Lasker.

An intriguing beginning, but not that good for Emanuel Lasker!

The Friday 56 is a book meme hosted by Freda’s Voice and the rules are as follows:

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence, (or few, just don’t spoil it) that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Add your (url) post below in Linky. Add the post url, not your blog url.

It’s that simple.

From page 56 of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union:

Two more custodians come banging out of the trailer, carrying off the divisional pornography library and a life-size cardboard cutout photograph of the president of America, with his cleft chin, his golfer’s tan, his air of self-importance, worn lightly, quarter-back style. The detectives like to dress the cardboard president in lacy underpants and pelt him with wadded clots of wet toilet paper.

An interesting excerpt, to say the least. Good to see the detectives so dedicated to their job!

That’s it for this week. I’m not sure when I’ll get around to reading this one, but I think I’ll enjoy it when I do.

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3 thoughts on “Book Beginnings and Friday 56 – The Yiddish Policemen’s Union (September 14)

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