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Moonglow
Cover of Moonglow
Moonglow
A Novel
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERWinner of the Sophie Brody Medal • An NBCC Finalist for 2016 Award for Fiction • ALA Carnegie Medal Finalist for Excellence in Fiction • Wall Street Journal's...
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLERWinner of the Sophie Brody Medal • An NBCC Finalist for 2016 Award for Fiction • ALA Carnegie Medal Finalist for Excellence in Fiction • Wall Street Journal's...
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  • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

    Winner of the Sophie Brody Medal • An NBCC Finalist for 2016 Award for Fiction • ALA Carnegie Medal Finalist for Excellence in Fiction • Wall Street Journal's Best Novel of the Year • A New York Times Notable Book of the Year • A Washington Post Best Book of the Year • An NPR Best Book of the Year • A Slate Best Book of the Year • A Christian Science Monitor Top 15 Fiction Book of the Year • A New York Magazine Best Book of the Year • A San Francisco Chronicle Book of the Year • A Buzzfeed Best Book of the Year • A New York Post Best Book of the Year

    iBooks Novel of the Year • An Amazon Editors' Top 20 Book of the Year • #1 Indie Next Pick • #1 Amazon Spotlight Pick • A New York Times Book Review Editors' Choice • A BookPage Top Fiction Pick of the Month • An Indie Next Bestseller

    "This book is beautiful." — A.O. Scott, New York Times Book Review, cover review

    Following on the heels of his New York Times bestselling novel Telegraph Avenue, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon delivers another literary masterpiece: a novel of truth and lies, family legends, and existential adventure—and the forces that work to destroy us.

    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 from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon.

    Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as "my grandfather." It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of keeping secrets and telling lies. It is a portrait of the difficult but passionate love between the narrator's grandfather and his grandmother, an enigmatic woman broken by her experience growing up in war-torn France. It is also a tour de force of speculative autobiography in which Chabon devises and reveals 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," the novel revisits an entire era through a single life and collapses a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional nonfiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most moving and...

About the Author-

  • Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Moonglow and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, among many others. He lives in Berkeley, California with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    August 1, 2016
    Chabon’s (Telegraph Avenue) charming and elegantly structured novel is presented as a memoir by a narrator named Mike who shares several autobiographical details with Chabon (for one, they’re both novelists who live in the Bay Area). Mike’s memoir is concerned less with his own life than with the lives of his deceased maternal Jewish grandparents, who remain unnamed. His grandfather—whose deathbed reminisces serve as the novel’s main narrative engine—is a WWII veteran with an anger streak (the stint he does in prison after a workplace assault is one of the novel’s finest sections) and a fascination with V-2 rockets, astronomy, space travel, and all things celestial or skyward. Mike’s grandmother, born in France, is alluring but unstable, “a source of fire, madness, and poetry” whose personal history overlaps in unclear ways with the Holocaust, and whose fits of depression and hallucination result in her institutionalization (also one of the novel’s finest sections). Chabon imbricates his characters’ particular histories with broader, detail-rich narratives of war, migration, and technological advances involving such figures as Alger Hiss and Wernher von Braun. This move can sometimes feel forced. What seduces the reader is Chabon’s language, which reinvents the world, joyously, on almost every page. Listening to his grandfather’s often-harrowing stories, Mike thinks to himself, “What I knew about shame... would fit into half a pistachio shell.”

  • Kirkus

    A faux memoir of the novelist's grandfather, whose life as an engineer, veteran, and felon offers an entree into themes of heroism and imagination.When "Michael Chabon," the narrator of this novel, was growing up, his maternal grandparents were steeped in mystery and mythology. His grandmother was a tight-lipped Holocaust survivor with a fixation on tarot cards, while his grandfather was a World War II Army officer who'd also done time in prison. The novel is largely Chabon's (Telegraph Avenue, 2012, etc.) effort to understand his grandfather's wilder escapades. Why did he try to strangle a former business partner with a telephone cord? What was he thinking when he and a buddy in the Army Corps of Engineers prankishly set explosives on a bridge in Washington, D.C.? What did he feel while he hunted down Wernher von Braun in Germany? And, more tenderly, what did he see in the young girl he met in Baltimore after returning home from the war? A study in intellect, violence, and displacement, his grandfather is engaging on the ground level while also serving as a kind of metaphor for Cold War America. And Chabon writes tenderly about his grandparents' relationship--his grandmother was a horror-flick host on local TV and suffered from mental illness her husband was ill-equipped to handle. Chabon's theme is the storytelling (i.e., lies) people lean on to survive through complicated times: "The world, like the Tower of Babel or my grandmother's deck of cards, was made out of stories, and it was always on the verge of collapse." A noble enough theme, but Chabon is an inveterate overwriter who dilutes his best storytelling with more ponderous digressions--on the manufacture of the V-2 rocket, model-making, Thomas Pynchon, and the relationships his widowed grandfather pursued before his death. He's captured a fine story about the poignancy of two souls' survival but also too many others about plenty else besides.A heartfelt but sodden family saga. COPYRIGHT(1) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    June 1, 2016
    Framed as a man's deathbed confession to his grandson, capturing the seesawing intensity of the American century, ranging from South Philadelphia's Jewish slums to the invasion of Germany to a Florida retirement village, covering sex, war, secrets keeping, deep-seated doubt, and mid-20th-century technological advancement, this grand saga blends imagination with acute historical detail. You expected anything less from the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chabon? Rooted in autobiography--the author was inspired by his terminally ill grandfather's floodgates-open revelations in 1989--this book captures history through an individual. With a 350,000-copy first printing and a 12-city tour.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal "A flamboyantly imaganitive work of fiction dressed in the sheep's clothing of autobiography....His most confident and complex performance....Moonglow is a movingly bittersweet novel that balances wonder with lamentation."
  • Michiko Kakutani, New York Times "Elegiac and deeply poignant ... Chabon weaves these knotted-together tales together into a tapestry that's as complicated, beautiful and flawed as an antique carpet.... Chabon is one of contemporary literature's most gifted prose stylists.... In Moonglow, he writes with both lovely lyricism and highly caffeinated fervor."
  • Hamilton Cain, O Magazine "An exuberant meld of fiction and family history.... It's the caliber of his writing-evocative sentences and indelible metaphors-that gives the novel its luster.... Moonglow prisms through a single life the desires and despair of the Greatest Generation, whose small steps and giant leaps continue to shape us all."
  • Ron Charles, The Washington Post "A wondrous book that celebrates the power of family bonds and the slipperiness of memory....A thoroughly enchanting story about the circuitous path that a life follows, about the accidents that redirect it, and about the secrets that can be felt but never seen, like the dark matter at the center of every family's cosmos."
  • A.O. Scott, New York Times Book Review, cover review "Mix[es] in generous dollops of meaning, a sprinkling of fancy metaphors and an abundance of beautiful sentences so that it becomes a rich and exotic confection. Too strict a recipe would have spoiled the charm of this layer cake of nested memories and family legends.... This book is beautiful."
  • Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review, Spotlight Pick "Like The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, and especially The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, this is classic Chabon: an intensely personal story uplifted by the shifting tectonic plates of truth and memory, floating atop his inimitably crafted, sometimes audacious, always original prose."
  • People "A poignant, engrossing triumph."
  • Heller McAlpin, NPR.org "An often rollicking, ultimately moving read. And like the song, it's liable to stay with you."
  • iBooks Review "Absolutely brilliant.... Stylistically and emotionally, Moonglow took our breath away over and over."
  • Entertainment Weekly "His prose is as luminous as ever."
  • Cody Delistraty, The New Yorker "Chabon renders an entire era within a single deathbed confession—a scale model of life after the Second World War."
  • Buzzfeed "A story as much about the art of storytelling as it is about family, history, and the 20th century, Moonglow is a dazzling achievement."
  • Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly "Vibrant.... A feast for fans of the Pulitzer winner's magical prose."
  • Best Book of the Year, The Wall Street Journal "Michael Chabon fills this dashing, Technicolor tribute to his grandfather's generation with outsize mythology. Space travel and sorcery are just two of the novel's wondrous themes. The book, his best yet, cements his place in the front of American writers."
  • Francine Prose, New York Review of Books "The grandfather is a terrific character: difficult, complex, admirable—at once unique and typical of a generation.... Audacious and accomplished, Moonglow is a four-hundred-page love letter to that generation, and one is thankful to Chabon for having brought one of those characters so vividly back to life."
  • Alexis Burling, San Francisco Chronicle "An exercise in exploring the slippery nature of truth, memory and what makes a compelling story. Are stories 'just names and dates and places [that don't] add up to anything?' like Grandpa suggests? Or are they, instead, something more illusive, more aching, more mysterious and meaningful. In terms of Moonglow, it's definitely the latter."
  • Robert Christgau, The Village Voice "Moonglow is most fundamentally a credible and carnal love story. You so love the two grandparents that you have a stake in their literal existence. You want the world to be like this, not just some book. Art, such magical stuff is called."
  • Kevin Nance, Poets & Writers "A magical family narrative that is as grand and mysterious as the literary form in which he presents it."
  • Kevin Nance, USA Today, starred review "Perhaps the most accessible of America's great literary novelists since the death of John Updike."
  • Michael Upchurch, Boston Globe "The Pulitzer Prize winner's most probing and substantial book yet."
  • Marion Winik, Newsday "A high-spirited pack of lies rakishly masquerading as a memoir.... Delicious."
  • November Preview: The Millions Most Anticipated "Moonglow...

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