Sunday, October 7, 2012
October Selection: Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue / Plus Some Discussion Questions:
After September's Read Across Lawrence detour into a totally unpretentious book with a lot of narrative momentum (Winter's Bone), it's time to get back to the usual ostentatious prose and navel-gazing that the PBR Book Club is known for.
So we're tackling Michael Chabon's bulky, "important" new novel Telegraph Avenue. It's full of Kung Fu, Blaxploitation references, Tarantino exegesis, and minutiae about vinyl records. It contains a hilarious parrot and a 12-page sentence. It should be perfect for us.
The jacket copy tells us it's "the Great American novel we've all been waiting for." I'm 200-ish pages in and my current verdict is that it's certainly striving (not that successfully) to be the "Great American Novel." But that leads to the question of "What the hell do we mean by the Great American Novel" anyway? Be prepared to discuss. And also: what was the last truly great American novel? (I'll say Roth's American Pastoral, which came out in 1997, which would mean there was no Great American Novel in the aughts...sorry, Franzen!).
Our October meeting time is as yet undetermined (I leave that to B-suit, who's more skillful with organizational matters). But should we consider a change of venue? Maybe back to the cozy confines of the Taproom, where conversation requires a little less shouting across long distances?
And you Spotify users can check out a supposedly terrific Telegraph Avenue playlist over here . Jam it while you read...and while drinking PBR, obviously.