Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Telegraph Avenue Read Along ~ Part Two

This is the third post in the Telegraph Avenue pre-release read along hosted by Emily at As the Crow Flies (and Reads).  To see my review of part one, click here.  To pre-order a copy of the book, click here.

PSA: It is advisable that you read my review of part one before you read this, especially if you've never read my reviews before, because it is much more coherent and may actually say something, which this post, I assure you, does not.

Oi.  So, part two, "The Church of Vinyl" is upon us, and I'll just say it: I didn't love it.  Not that it's bad - it's not.  But it didn't seem to really go anywhere.  Most of the plot points, of which there weren't many, were rather unsurprising - Gwen finds out about Titus and predictably leaves Archy (I mean, of course she does - he's denied the existence of his first child for fourteen years, which is not really a glowing recommendation when she's about to give birth to his second); Gibson Goode offers Archy a job (um, duh, people will follow him and he's clearly got the smarts); and, um, Nat makes fried chicken (okay, I didn't see that coming, and OH MY GAWD IF MY HUSBAND EVER MADE THAT KIND OF MESS AND LEFT IT I - okay I don't know what I would do because it's unprecedented, but trust me, it would not spell good things for him).  Oh, and Cochise Jones dies, which I forgot until I just checked and I think that Chabon did a very inadequate job of portraying his skill and fame because when people started paying all those tributes, I was all wha?  Who is this guy?  I thought he was just some dude who did decent covers and had a bird on his shoulder.  So that was a bit of a misstep.

Okay, I guess more must have happened than I though because I just remembered Barack Obama's SO RANDOM cameo.  Seriously, where did he come from?  No lie though, it was kind of cool, especially when he was talking about the music being "pretty funky," which I have to admit is a word that I've never really understood except in the "ew, your feet are pretty funky" way.  BUT NOW I DO.  I hope Obama gets a free copy of the book when it comes out, though it will probably just make people yell about how he never reads books by women.  Which he really should.

So yeah.  While I continued to love Chabon's hilarious and surprising writing style (see quotes below), I felt like the pace of this section was a little off.  We had a lot of character introductions and development in "Dream of Cream," and "The Church of Vinyl" did very little to develop that.  The characters seem no more complex and the storyline seems to be stagnating.  It was a little tough to get through (which was made tougher by a couple of continuity errors).  I hope for better from the next section.  In the meantime, I'll leave you with a couple of quotes, because Chabon sure is fun to read.

In which we get some excellent parenting advice:
You have to make them do things they don't want to do, even when you don't really care if they do them or not. (pg.213)
In which the narrator (this isn't free indirect discourse people) makes a fun metaphor about Oakland:
Like a hoard of family diamonds sewn into the hems and hidden pockets of an exile's cloak, Oakland was salted secretly with wonders, even here, at its fetid, half-rotted raggedy-ass end. (pg.219)


  1. Sorry to hear this section didn't click as well for you. I rather liked it, actually, and felt like the author and the characters were settling into stride nicely.

    I also loved that line about parenting--very funny, and i can imagine just how true it is, especially after your first child.

  2. I didn't love this section either. Heh--many of the others are talking about how the plot picked up in this section, but I didn't get that either. Didn't love the Obama cameo at all.

  3. I liked this section better than the first but sadly, this novel is just not working for me. :/ I'm so exhausted by Chabon's writing style -- which is odd as I usually really relish wild narrative styles.