4 reviews

The Yiddish Policemen's Union: A Novel
by Michael Chabon

Published: 2007-05-01
Hardcover : 432 pages
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27 clubs reading this now
8 members have read this book
Recommended to book clubs by 2 of 4 members
For sixty years, Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of revelations of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. Proud, grateful, and longing to be ...
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For sixty years, Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of revelations of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. Proud, grateful, and longing to be American, the Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant, gritty, soulful, and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. For sixty years they have been left alone, neglected and half-forgotten in a backwater of history. Now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end: once again the tides of history threaten to sweep them up and carry them off into the unknown.

But homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. He and his half-Tlingit partner, Berko Shemets, can't catch a break in any of their outstanding cases. Landsman's new supervisor is the love of his life—and also his worst nightmare. And in the cheap hotel where he has washed up, someone has just committed a murder—right under Landsman's nose. Out of habit, obligation, and a mysterious sense that it somehow offers him a shot at redeeming himself, Landsman begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy. But when word comes down from on high that the case is to be dropped immediately, Landsman soon finds himself contending with all the powerful forces of faith, obsession, hopefulness, evil, and salvation that are his heritage—and with the unfinished business of his marriage to Bina Gelbfish, the one person who understands his darkest fears.

At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, an homage to 1940s noir, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption, The Yiddish Policemen's Union is a novel only Michael Chabon could have written.

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Jewish and/or southeast Alaskan themes
by bneffer (see profile) 07/29/14
Very heavy Jewish influences in this book, not surprisingly. Also some Native Alaskan and general Alaskan iconic items as well, like bush pilots, remote camps, SE panhandle grey and damp weather. Also there is a messianic aspect as well.

Member Reviews

Overall rating:
by Melissa W. (see profile) 06/08/19

  "Less about policework, more about out-of-place Jews."by Ben N. (see profile) 07/29/14

This author creates an interesting web of interrelated themes, like things being out of place or the role of fatherhood. He also enjoys grand metaphorical descriptions, some captivating, and... (read more)

  "The Yiddish policeman's Union"by Marcella D. (see profile) 08/18/12

The author has a gift with words. That being said, I found this book confusing and difficult to get through. I guess I could say that I am glad I read it but it took extraordinary effort. ... (read more)

  "The Yiddish Policeman's Union"by Barbara S. (see profile) 04/18/12

The book was written by a very intelligent person. I enjoyed the story but it was hard keeping track of characters and the meanings of the Yiddish words.

  "Yiddish Policemen"by Bethany M. (see profile) 09/08/10

This book was extremely interesting. The only negative of this book is that Chabon's writing is sometimes hard to follow. He jam-packs his sentences with wit and description, and sometimes I miss what's... (read more)

  "the yiddish policemen's union"by alicia f. (see profile) 10/09/09

1st bk i read from chabon heard he wrote another 1 "the amazing..." that was good this 1 i had 2 push myself 2 finish - not my cuppa tea

  "Mystery in Sitka"by Donna C. (see profile) 10/08/09

Michael Chabon is one of those writers who can take the written word and turn it into vivid technicolor photos. His dystopic history of the Jews of America sent off to a remote area Alaska brings to... (read more)

  "Was expecting more"by Suzan L. (see profile) 10/20/08

I was excited to read this book, but the addage that you cannot judge a book by its cover is right on the money. The back of the book jacket quotes spectacular reviews, and being half Jewis... (read more)

  "Not recommended"by Amy A. (see profile) 10/01/08

  "difficult to read. Writing was rather "weird""by ellen t. (see profile) 07/29/08

Did not enjoy. this was the second Chabon I have attempted and have not liked either one.

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