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Telegraph Avenue
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HarperCollins 2012
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Description

The New York Times bestseller following a big-hearted, exhilarating novel exploring the profoundly intertwined lives of two Oakland families.

"An immensely gifted writer and magical prose stylist."
—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

New York Times bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon has transported readers to wonderful places: to New York City during the Golden Age of comic books (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay); to an imaginary Jewish homeland in Sitka, Alaska (The Yiddish Policemen's Union); to discover The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Now he takes us to Telegraph Avenue in a big-hearted and exhilarating novel that explores the profoundly intertwined lives of two Oakland, California families, one black and one white. In Telegraph Avenue, Chabon lovingly creates a world grounded in pop culture—Kung Fu, '70s Blaxploitation films, vinyl LPs, jazz and soul music—and delivers a bravura epic of friendship, race, and secret histories.

As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there—longtime friends, bandmates, and coregents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, a pair of semilegendary midwives who have welcomed more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart-half tavern, half temple-stands Brokeland. When ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complication to the couples' already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of 15-year-old Julius Jaffe's life.

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Street Date:
09/11/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780062124609
ASIN:
B007HBH2EW
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APA Citation (style guide)

Michael Chabon. (2012). Telegraph Avenue. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Michael Chabon. 2012. Telegraph Avenue. HarperCollins.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Michael Chabon, Telegraph Avenue. HarperCollins, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Michael Chabon. Telegraph Avenue. HarperCollins, 2012.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2022. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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Telegraph Avenue
fullDescription

The New York Times bestseller following a big-hearted, exhilarating novel exploring the profoundly intertwined lives of two Oakland families.

"An immensely gifted writer and magical prose stylist."
—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

New York Times bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon has transported readers to wonderful places: to New York City during the Golden Age of comic books (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay); to an imaginary Jewish homeland in Sitka, Alaska (The Yiddish Policemen's Union); to discover The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Now he takes us to Telegraph Avenue in a big-hearted and exhilarating novel that explores the profoundly intertwined lives of two Oakland, California families, one black and one white. In Telegraph Avenue, Chabon lovingly creates a world grounded in pop culture—Kung Fu, '70s Blaxploitation films, vinyl LPs, jazz and soul music—and delivers a bravura epic of friendship, race, and secret histories.

As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there—longtime friends, bandmates, and coregents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, a pair of semilegendary midwives who have welcomed more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart-half tavern, half temple-stands Brokeland. When ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complication to the couples' already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of 15-year-old Julius Jaffe's life.

reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Michiko Kakutani, New York Times
      • content:

        "An amazingly rich, emotionally detailed story....[Chabon's] people become so real to us, their problems so palpably netted in the author's buoyant, expressionistic prose, that the novel gradually becomes a genuinely immersive experience—something increasingly rare in our ADD age." — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

        "Chabon is an extraordinarily generous writer. He is generous to his characters, to his landscapes, to syntax, to words, to his readers—there is a real joy in his work....Both ambitious and lighthearted, the novel is a touching, gentle, comic meditation." — Cathleen Schine, New York Review of Books

        "Astounding....steamrolls the barrier that has kept the Great American Novel at odds with the country it's supposed to reflect....[A] huge-hearted, funny, improbably hip book." — John Freeman, Boston Globe

        "Forget Joycean or Bellovian or any other authorial allusion. Telegraph Avenue might best be described as Chabonesque. Exuberantly written, generously peopled, its sentences go off like a summer fireworks show, in strings of bursting metaphor." — Jess Walter, San Francisco Chronicle

        "Chabon has made a career of routing big, ambitious projects through popular genres, with superlative results....The scale of Telegraph Avenue is no less ambitious....Much of the wit...inheres in Chabon's astonishing prose. I don't just mean the showy bits...I mean the offhand brilliance that happens everywhere." — Jennifer Egan, New York Times Book Review (cover review)

        "The writing - stylized, humorous and often dazzling - is inflected with tones of jazz and funk. But it's Chabon's ear for the sounds of the human soul that make this book a masterpiece, as his vividly drawn characters learn to live at the intersection of disappointment and hope." — Robin Micheli, People (4 out of 4 stars)

        "Telegraph Avenue is so exuberant, it's as if Michael Chabon has pulled joy from the air and squeezed it into the shape of words....His sentences spring, bounce, set off sparklers, even when dwelling in mundane details....Fantastic." — Carolyn Kellogg, Los Angeles Times Book Review

        "Witty and compassionate and full of more linguistic derring-do than any other writer in American could carry off." — Ron Charles, Washington Post

        "An exhilarating, bighearted novel." — O magazine

        "A genuinely moving story about race and class, parenting and marriage...Chabon is inarguably one of the greatest prose stylists of all time, powering out sentences that are the equivalent of executing a triple back flip on a bucking bull while juggling chain saws and making love to three women." — Benjamin Percy, Esquire

        "A jam that grooves, entertains, entrances and sticks in your head with infectious melodies....[Chabon] is a hypnotizing master of language, crafting fresh descriptors for familiar functions, poetic detours that never sacrifice narrative flow, well-oiled metaphorical machinations, and seamless time travelling that makes the phrase 'flashback' seem obsolete." — Jake Austen, Chicago Tribune

        "Chabon's hugely likable characters all face crises of existential magnitude, rendered in an Electra Glide flow of Zen sentences and zinging metaphors that make us wish the needle would never arrive at the final groove." — Elle

        "[Chabon] is a truly gifted writer of prose:...

      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        May 28, 2012
        Virtuosity” is the word most commonly associated with Chabon, and if Telegraph Avenue, the latest from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Yiddish Policeman’s Union, is at first glance less conceptual than its predecessors, the sentences are no less remarkable. Set during the Bush/Kerry election, in Chabon’s home of Berkeley, Calif., it follows the flagging fortunes of Brokeland Records, a vintage record store on the titular block run by Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe, currently threatened with closure by Pittsburgh Steeler’s quarterback-turned-entrepreneur Gibson “G Bad” Goode’s plans to “restore, at a stroke, the commercial heart of a black neighborhood” with one of his Dogpile “Thang” emporiums. The community mobilizes and confronts this challenge to the relative racial harmony enjoyed by the white Jaffe; his gay Tarantino-enthusiast son, Julie; and the African-American Archy, whose partner, Gwen Shanks, is not only pregnant but finds the midwife business she runs with Aviva, Jaffe’s wife, in legal trouble following a botched delivery. Making matters worse is Stallings’s father, Luther, a faded blaxploitation movie star with a Black Panther past, and the appearance of Titus, the son Archy didn’t know he had. All the elements of a socially progressive contemporary novel are in place, but Chabon’s preference for retro—the reader is seldom a page away from a reference to Marvel comics, kung fu movies, or a coveted piece of ’70s vinyl—quickly wears out its welcome. Worse, Chabon’s approach to race is surprisingly short on nuance and marred by a goofy cameo from a certain charismatic senator from Illinois. 15-city author tour. Agent: Mary Evans.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        Starred review from August 1, 2012
        If any novelist can pack the entire American zeitgeist into 500 pages, it's Chabon ("The Yiddish Policeman's Union"). Here, he deftly treads race, class, gender, and generation lines, showing how they continue to define us even as they're crossed. In 2004, in an enclave bordered by Berkeley and Oakland, Brokeland Records sells used vinyl records and serves as the de facto community center. The owners are Archy Stallings, totally down on his dad, once a blaxploitation star, and earnest, Jewish Nat Jaffe. Their wives are Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, the Berkeley Birth Partners, renowned local midwives. All's well until former NFL quarterback Gibson Goode threatens to build a megastore nearby, effectively shuttering Brokeland but promising jobs in a poor, mostly black neighborhood. Meanwhile, a complicated delivery causes trouble for the Birth Partners. And that's only a tiny sampling of what happens in this prodigious novel. VERDICT Ambitious, densely written, sometimes very funny, and fabulously over the top, here's a rare book that really could be the great American novel. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 3/5/12.]--Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        April 1, 2012

        Race, corporatism, and last-stand idealism: who better to explore these themes than Pulitzer Prize winner Chabon, whose linguistic razzle-dazzle discloses acute observations about our shared culture--and its borders. It's 2004, and longtime band mates Archy and Nat (married to beloved local midwives) still preside over Brokeland Records, a used-record emporium and de facto town center in a fictional space somewhere between Berkeley and Oakland. All's well until a former NFL quarterback, one of the country's richest African Americans, decides to build his latest Dogpile megastore on nearby Telegraph Avenue. Not only could this spell doom for the little shop and its cross-race, cross-class dream, but it opens up past history regarding Archy's untethered dad and a Black Panther-era crime. With a one-day laydown on September 11, a 300,000-copy first printing, and a 13-city tour.

        Copyright 2012 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        Starred review from August 15, 2012
        An end-of-an-era epic celebrating the bygone glories of vinyl records, comic-book heroes and blaxploitation flicks in a world gone digital. The novelist, his characters and the readers who will most love this book all share a passion for popular culture and an obsession with period detail. Set on the grittier side in the Bay Area of the fairly recent past (when multimedia megastores such as Tower and Virgin were themselves predators rather than casualties to online commerce), the plot involves generational relationships between two families, with parallels that are more thematically resonant than realistic. Two partners own a used record store that has become an Oakland neighborhood institution, "the church of vinyl." One of the partners, Archy Stallings, is black, and he is estranged from his father, a broken-down former B-movie action hero, as well as from the teenage son he never knew about who has arrived in Oakland from Texas to complicate the plot. The other partner is Nat Jaffe, white and Jewish, whose wife is also partners with Archy's wife in midwifery (a profession as threatened as selling used vinyl), and whose son develops a crush on Archy's illegitimate son. The plot encompasses a birth and a death against the backdrop of the encroachment of a chain superstore, owned by a legendary athlete, which threatens to squash Archy and Nat's Brokeland Records, all amid a blackmailing scheme dating back to the Black Panther heyday. Yet the warmth Chabon (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, 2000, etc.) feels toward his characters trumps the intricacies and implausibilities of the plot, as the novel straddles and blurs all sorts of borders: black and white, funk and jazz, Oakland and Berkeley, gay and straight. And the resolution justifies itself with an old musicians' joke: " 'You know it's all going to work out in the end?' " says one character. " 'No....But I guess I can probably fake it, ' " replies another. The evocation of "Useless, by James Joyce" attests to the humor and ambition of the novel, as if this were a Joyce-an remix with a hipper rhythm track.

        COPYRIGHT(2012) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        Starred review from June 1, 2012
        Even though protean and wizardly Chabon has written an array of stellar books since The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000), it has reigned supreme as his magnum opus. Until, perhaps, the advent of this even more magnificently crafted, exuberantly alive, emotionally lustrous, and socially intricate saga anchored to Brokeland Records, a funky used-vinyl paradise on the border of Oakland and Berkeley. The proprietors are mountainous Archy Stallings and high-strung Nat Jaffe, whose wives, too, work together, in a midwifery partnership. Gwen is pregnant with her and Archy's first child. Aviva and Nat have a smart, artistic, gay teenage son. A difficult birth puts Gwen and Aviva's business in jeopardy, just as Archy and Nat face potentially insurmountable competition in the form of a planned megastore. Archy also finds himself contending with a teenage son he's never met before and his down-and-out father, a former blaxploitation film star. This core group of African American and Jewish friends is surrounded by a vivid, scheming supporting cast. Bubbling with lovingly curated knowledge about everything from jazz to pregnancy to airships, Chabon's rhapsodically detailed, buoyantly plotted, warmly intimate cross-cultural tale of metamorphoses is electric with suspense, humor, and bebop dialogue. A virtuoso, soulful, and wise story of fathers and sons, friendship and marriage, music and meaningful work, and the spirit of a storied American neighborhood. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Chabon's embracing, radiant masterpiece will be the talk of the season.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

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The New York Times bestseller following a big-hearted, exhilarating novel exploring the profoundly intertwined lives of two Oakland families.

"An immensely gifted writer and magical prose stylist."
—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

New York Times bestselling, Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Michael Chabon has transported readers to wonderful places: to New York City during the Golden Age of comic books (The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay); to an imaginary Jewish homeland in Sitka, Alaska (The Yiddish Policemen's Union); to discover The Mysteries of Pittsburgh. Now he takes us to Telegraph Avenue in a big-hearted and exhilarating novel that explores the profoundly intertwined lives of two Oakland, California families, one black and one white. In Telegraph Avenue, Chabon lovingly creates a world grounded in pop culture—Kung Fu, '70s Blaxploitation films, vinyl LPs, jazz and soul...

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