The Yiddish Policemen's Union

Chabon, Michael

Paperback - 2008
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Yiddish Policemen's Union
In a world in which Alaska, rather than Israel, has become the homeland for the Jews following World War II, Detective Meyer Landsman and his half-Tlingit partner Berko investigate the death of a heroin-addicted chess prodigy.

Publisher: New York : Harper Perennial, 2008
ISBN: 9780007149834
Branch Call Number: FIC C
Characteristics: 411 p., 26 ; 21 cm.


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Oct 21, 2013

"Imagine if tiny Sitka, Alaska, had been annexed as a temporary territory for homeless Jews after World War II. This odd proposition makes for a wonderfully surreal setting populated by rabbis, chess masters, and ultra-orthodox gangsters. In the midst of all this is Meyer Landsman, a depressed, alcoholic, and irreligious Jewish homicide cop who's only got a couple months to figure out who murdered a heroin-addicted former chess prodigy and gangster before Sitka reverts to Alaska and Sitka's Jews find themselves homeless once more. "Impressively wacky," says The New York Times." Fiction A to Z October 2013 newsletter

Jun 08, 2012
  • mpfickes rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Relentlessly inventive novelist Michael Chabon invents a new genre, the dystopian hardboiled alternative history mystery. His hero, Meyer Landsman, is an alcoholic cop in Sitka, the makeshift resettlement territory established for the Jews in the desolate, dark reaches of Alaska after the promised Jewish homeland turned to ashes in 1949. When a middle-aged junkie is found dead in the fleabag hotel Landsmann calls home, he persuades his reluctant partner and cousin, the half Jewish/half Tlingit Berko Shemets, to join him in the investigation. Chabon serves up a rich stew of dark and demonized characters in a book that is as improbably believable as an episode of The Sopranos crossed with Philip Roth's The Contract Against America. Note: keep a copy of Leo Rosten's The Joy of Yiddish handy. Unless you grew up in one of the 5 boroughs, you'll need it.

Jun 22, 2011
  • Adzebill rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Mainstream author who is not a genre snob. An feat of alternate history, very evocative about Jewish identity, and a damn good noir mystery too.

Jan 24, 2011
  • kmoyer rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

V interesting detective/mystery, fast paced. Funny. Lots of Jewish words thrown into the dialogue - takes awhile to figure out what some of them are but good fun.

Mar 28, 2010
  • sprocket rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

I found the first 100 pages to be a bit slow, but got right into the rest of the book. It's a neat whodunnit that might be especially enjoyable for chess fans.

Jan 10, 2010
  • jpalter rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Chabon admittedly likes difficult novels. He likes to read them. So it's no surprise that he writes them that way too. If you like his writing style, try his non-fiction Manhood for Amateurs. Brilliant!

Jan 02, 2010
  • aime_lire rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I wouldn't call it at all SF. If you start reading it and expect a SF or a mystery, you will be disappointed. Just expect a well-written novel and you will also find a very funny book.

Jul 01, 2008
  • samdog123 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Just couldn't get into this book-I like a lighter kind of mystery.

Feb 08, 2008 top 25 books of 2007.


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Chabon, Michael
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