Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon hits close to home—literally—with his first novel in five years. In Telegraph Avenue, he brings readers to his very own California East Bay Neighborhood, “Brokeland” (it’s located where Berkeley and Oakland meet up), in the year 2004.
Longtime friends and record-store owning partners Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe could not be more different on paper in terms of race, mannerisms and attitude. Archy is awaiting the birth of his first child; Nat is discovering more each day about his moody, romantic teenage son, Julius. As the two men navigate the roller-coaster ride of fatherhood and marriage (their wives are partners who run their own midwifery business), they are dealt a life-changing blow when ex-NFL quarterback Gibson Goode announces plans to construct his latest Dogpile mega-music store one mere block away from their shop. Archy and Nat attempt to rally the neighborhood to save their beloved music store, but endless curveballs prevent them from keeping their dream alive.
Like the legendary music of famed jazz musician Sun-Ra, Chabon’s eloquent prose rises and falls in a sing-song tone that lures readers through the novel’s pages in a nonstop riff. Telegraph Avenue is a study of the limits of friendship and the multifaceted layers of race—and a closely observed portrait of a thriving neighborhood that clings to a sense of old-school order.