Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Yiddish Policemen's Union

The 2012 Library Challenge asks that you read a crime novel you haven't read before in February. I chose The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon. It's set in an alternate reality where Jews settled in Alaska during WWII, with Israel being destroyed in 1948.

I love alternate history. With crime novels, my mileage varies, but I instantly liked the premise here. I'm afraid that it wasn't really the right book for me, though.

I liked the main character Meyer Landsman, an alcoholic homicide detective, but I didn't like him enough to be able to stand his bouts of self pity and suicidal behaviour for 400 pages or so. The crime itself didn't hold my interest neither.

What I did like was the glimpse into Jewish customs and the use of the Yiddish language. I can read Yiddish more or less well and I like it's unique and quirky use of words gleaned from other languages. It was not enough to make me finish the book, though.

The Coen Brothers may do a movie based on the book and that is something I do want to see. It fits their style well and I think that a movie might tell the story in a way that I would like better - there are a few books I detest, but I just love the movies.

Second book for the 2012 Library Challenge
2012 reviews

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