A writer walks into a room full of rabbis. This sounds like the beginning of a joke, but it’s not. In the words of Woody Allen’s “Broadway Danny Rose,” “It’s the emes.”
Michael Chabon, the literary wunderkind, won a Pulitzer Prize for “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,” which conjured up the American comic book industry in the glory days of the 1930s and 1940s.
In some ways, it's a most natural shidduch. There's Michael Chabon, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist whose best-selling 2007 book, "The Yiddish Policemen's Union," marked a turning point in the author's growing exploration of Jewish themes in his fiction. And Joel and Ethan Coen, the maverick filmmakers whose Jewish sensibility has been evident in countless of their movies, but who have yet to fully actualize their Semitic humor in a full-blown Jewish film. Until now. Late last week, the Guardian revealed that the Coens had agreed to write and direct the film adaptation of "The Yiddish Policemen's Union."
Interview with novelist Michael Chabon.
Shysters chase ambulances; critics chase influences. How to characterize this Chandler-Babel stew? Let's try the Hollywood idiom. "The Yiddish Policeman's Union" is Woody Allen meets Cornel Woolrich. No, better, deeper: S.J. Perelman meets Y.L. Peretz meets Harry Turtledove. Martin Amis meets Stanley Elkin who is chatting with Sholom Aleichem about Jorge Luis Borges.
In Spring a reader's fancy turns to thoughts of ... books.
"The Final Solution: A Story of Detection" by Michael Chabon (Fourth Estate/HarperCollins, $16.95).
Depending on their authors' predilections, so-called "literary" novels are often unsettling, disturbing, enlightening or tragicomic. They are not, in the main, much fun. Fun is left to hacks, those genre writers who churn out the chick-lit blockbusters, weepy romances, thrillers, sci-fi fantasies and blood-and-guts horrors that dominate the best-seller lists.
Joe [incredulous]: Jewish superheroes?
Sammy: What, they're all Jewish, superheroes. Superman, you don't think he's Jewish? Coming from the old country, changing his name like that. Clark Kent, only a Jew would pick up a name like that for himself.