Book Details

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National Book Critics Circle Award

About the Book

Following on the heels of his New York Times-bestselling novel Telegraph Avenue, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon delivers another literary masterpiece: a novel of truth and lies, family legends, and existential adventure-and the forces that work to destroy us.

In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother’s home in Oakland, California, to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon’s grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten. That dreamlike week of revelations forms the basis of the novel Moonglow, the latest feat of legerdemain in the ongoing magic act that is the art of Michael Chabon.

Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact-and the creative power-of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies. A gripping, poignant, tragicomic, scrupulously researched and wholly imaginary transcript of a life that spanned the dark heart of the twentieth century, Moonglow is also a tour de force of speculative history in which Chabon attempts to reconstruct the mysterious origins and fate of Chabon Scientific, Co., an authentic mail-order novelty company whose ads for scale models of human skeletons, combustion engines and space rockets were once a fixture in the back pages of Esquire, Popular Mechanics and Boy’s Life. Along the way Chabon devises and reveals, in bits and pieces whose hallucinatory intensity is matched only by their comic vigor and the radiant moonglow of his prose, a secret history of his own imagination.

From the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of New York’s Wallkill Prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of “the American Century,” Moonglow collapses an era into a single life and a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional non-fiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most daring, his most moving, his most Chabonesque.

Educator and Librarian Resources

Critical Praise

“Chabon imbricates his characters’ particular histories with broader, detail-rich narratives of war, migration, and technological advances. . . . What seduces the reader is Chabon’s language, which reinvents the world, joyously, on almost every page.” —Publishers Weekly

“A nearly 500-page epic, Moonglow explores the war, sex, and technology of mid-century America in all its glory and folly. It’s simultaneously Chabon’s most imaginative and personal work to date.” —The Millions

“Chabon has created a masterful and resounding novel of the dark and blazing forces that forged our tumultuous, confounding, and precious world.” —Booklist

“This grand saga is a supreme exercise of imagination blended with acute historical detail.” —Library Journal

“This is Chabon’s finest work in years. It is at once a story of the horrors of war and the compromises we make for love and family.” —Pittsburgh Magazine

“From the Jewish neighborhoods of Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Floridian retirement communities to penal colonies at home and war camps abroad, Chabon’s newest journey proves well worth the wait.” —Jewish Book Council

Product Details

  • ISBN: 9781443418706
  • ISBN 10: 1443418706
  • Imprint: HarperCollins Publishers
  • On Sale: 11/22/2016
  • Pages: 448
  • List Price: 33.99 CAD
  • BISAC1: FICTION / Literary
  • BISAC2: FICTION / Family Life
  • BISAC3: FICTION / Urban

Moonglow by Michael Chabon

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