Michael Chabon's new novel, Telegraph Avenue, is about two deeply intertwined families in Oakland, Calif. — one black, the other white. The story takes place in 2004, mainly in and around a store owned by the two fathers. Called Brokeland Records and a haven for secondhand-vinyl aficionados, the store is suddenly threatened by a rich ex-NFL player's plans to build a megastore in the neighborhood. The mothers from each family are midwives in practice together, and their sons are involved in a complicated friendship. It's a quirky tale, told by the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chabon with his typical enthusiasm for colorful description and elaborate metaphor. His style sometimes gets in the way of the story and he may test some readers' patience with a single 12-page sentence but, overall, his writing is just jaw-droppingly good.
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