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Moonglow: A Novel
by Michael Chabon

Published: 2016-11-22
Hardcover : 430 pages
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NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Winner of the Sophie Brody Medal • An NBCC Finalist for 2016 Award for Fiction • ALA Carnegie Medal Finalist for Excellence in Fiction • Wall Street Journal’s Best Novel of the Year • A New York Times Notable Book of the Year • A Washington ...

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Introduction

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Winner of the Sophie Brody Medal • An NBCC Finalist for 2016 Award for Fiction • ALA Carnegie Medal Finalist for Excellence in Fiction • Wall Street Journal’s Best Novel of the Year • A New York Times Notable Book of the Year • A Washington Post Best Book of the Year • An NPR Best Book of the Year • A Slate Best Book of the Year • A Christian Science Monitor Top 15 Fiction Book of the Year • A New York Magazine Best Book of the Year • A San Francisco Chronicle Book of the Year • A Buzzfeed Best Book of the Year • A New York Post Best Book of the Year

iBooks Novel of the Year • An Amazon Editors' Top 20 Book of the Year • #1 Indie Next Pick • #1 Amazon Spotlight Pick • A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice • A BookPage Top Fiction Pick of the Month • An Indie Next Bestseller

"This book is beautiful.” A.O. Scott, New York Times Book Review, cover review

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 for the novel Moonglow, the latest feat of legerdemain from Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon.

 Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and marriage and desire, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at midcentury, and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of keeping secrets and telling lies. It is a portrait of the difficult but passionate love between the narrator’s grandfather and his grandmother, an enigmatic woman broken by her experience growing up in war-torn France. It is also a tour de force of speculative autobiography in which Chabon devises and reveals 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,” the novel revisits an entire era through a single life and collapses a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional nonfiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most moving and inventive.

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of November 2016: In the days following the publication of Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to California to sit by his dying grandfather, a typically taciturn and reserved man. But Dilaudid had loosened his tongue, and out came a torrent of remarkable stories of full of secrets, love, pain, sex, and regret. Chabon’s remarkable new “autobiographical novel” Moonglow is mined from, but not limited by, those conversations; as he states in his author’s note at the head of the book: “In preparing this memoir, I have stuck to facts except when facts refused to conform with memory, narrating purpose, or the truth as I prefer to understand it. Wherever liberties have been taken … the reader is assured that they have been taken with due abandon.” The result is a sprawling, yet intensely personal, paean to his grandparents, their lives together and as individuals. World War II and its atrocities cast long shadows, as does the Space Race and the titular moon, which hangs over the story as a bright dream of escape and a dark reminder of failed aspiration. Like The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, and especially The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, this is classic Chabon: an intensely personal story uplifted by the shifting tectonic plates of truth and memory, floating atop his inimitably crafted, sometimes audacious, always original prose. --Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review

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Notes From the Author to the Bookclub

“Elegiac and deeply poignant ... Chabon weaves these knotted-together tales together into a tapestry that’s as complicated, beautiful and flawed as an antique carpet.... Chabon is one of contemporary literature’s most gifted prose stylists.... In Moonglow, he writes with both lovely lyricism and highly caffeinated fervor.” — Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

“An exuberant meld of fiction and family history.... It’s the caliber of his writing-evocative sentences and indelible metaphors-that gives the novel its luster…. Moonglow prisms through a single life the desires and despair of the Greatest Generation, whose small steps and giant leaps continue to shape us all.” — Hamilton Cain, O Magazine

“A wondrous book that celebrates the power of family bonds and the slipperiness of memory….A thoroughly enchanting story about the circuitous path that a life follows, about the accidents that redirect it, and about the secrets that can be felt but never seen, like the dark matter at the center of every family’s cosmos.” — Ron Charles, The Washington Post

“Mix[es] in generous dollops of meaning, a sprinkling of fancy metaphors and an abundance of beautiful sentences so that it becomes a rich and exotic confection. Too strict a recipe would have spoiled the charm of this layer cake of nested memories and family legends.… This book is beautiful.” — A.O. Scott, New York Times Book Review, cover review

“A flamboyantly imaganitive work of fiction dressed in the sheep’s clothing of autobiography....His most confident and complex performance....Moonglow is a movingly bittersweet novel that balances wonder with lamentation.” — Sam Sacks, The Wall Street Journal

“Like The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, and especially The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, this is classic Chabon: an intensely personal story uplifted by the shifting tectonic plates of truth and memory, floating atop his inimitably crafted, sometimes audacious, always original prose.” — Jon Foro, The Amazon Book Review, Spotlight Pick

“A poignant, engrossing triumph.” — People

“An often rollicking, ultimately moving read. And like the song, it’s liable to stay with you.” — Heller McAlpin, NPR.org

“Absolutely brilliant…. Stylistically and emotionally, Moonglow took our breath away over and over.” — iBooks Review

“His prose is as luminous as ever.” — Entertainment Weekly

“Chabon renders an entire era within a single deathbed confession—a scale model of life after the Second World War.” — Cody Delistraty, The New Yorker

“Radiant.” — Sloane Crosley, Vanity Fair

“A story as much about the art of storytelling as it is about family, history, and the 20th century, Moonglow is a dazzling achievement.” — Buzzfeed

“Vibrant…. A feast for fans of the Pulitzer winner’s magical prose.” — Leah Greenblatt, Entertainment Weekly

“Michael Chabon fills this dashing, Technicolor tribute to his grandfather’s generation with outsize mythology. Space travel and sorcery are just two of the novel’s wondrous themes. The book, his best yet, cements his place in the front of American writers.” — Best Book of the Year, The Wall Street Journal

“The grandfather is a terrific character: difficult, complex, admirable—at once unique and typical of a generation…. Audacious and accomplished, Moonglow is a four-hundred-page love letter to that generation, and one is thankful to Chabon for having brought one of those characters so vividly back to life.” — Francine Prose, New York Review of Books

“An exercise in exploring the slippery nature of truth, memory and what makes a compelling story. Are stories ‘just names and dates and places [that don’t] add up to anything?’ like Grandpa suggests? Or are they, instead, something more illusive, more aching, more mysterious and meaningful. In terms of Moonglow, it’s definitely the latter.” — Alexis Burling, San Francisco Chronicle

“Moonglow is most fundamentally a credible and carnal love story. You so love the two grandparents that you have a stake in their literal existence. You want the world to be like this, not just some book. Art, such magical stuff is called.” — Robert Christgau, The Village Voice

“A magical family narrative that is as grand and mysterious as the literary form in which he presents it.” — Kevin Nance, Poets & Writers

“Perhaps the most accessible of America’s great literary novelists since the death of John Updike.” — Kevin Nance, USA Today, starred review

“The Pulitzer Prize winner’s most probing and substantial book yet.” — Michael Upchurch, Boston Globe

“A high-spirited pack of lies rakishly masquerading as a memoir.... Delicious.” — Marion Winik, Newsday

“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.” — November Preview: The Millions Most Anticipated

“A dying grandfather transports the reader through an entire era via lyrical tales of war, love and model rockets.” — Time

“You will not find better, funnier, more varied writing in a novel this year.” — Katy Waldman, Slate

“Chabon aims for the moon and successfully touches down on the lunar surface.... An emotional tale of love and loss; fabulous, at times magical, writing. Moonglow floats through time and space to carry the reader to a fascinating new world.” — Jonathan Elderfield, Associated Press

“Sparkling, richly satisfying.” — BookPage, Top Fiction Pick

“Chabon writes with the aplomb of a test pilot,” — Michael Merschel, Dallas Morning News

“Refreshing honest, funny, and succint: Chabon in a nutshell.... Moonglow is a long, elegant mess that feels like truth. It is both elegiac and immeditate, balanced between rambling, wrenching emotion and clean descriptive precision.” — Emily Simon, Buffalo News

“This novel is Chabon’s Apollo mission to the past, launched with the same combination of ingenuity, dedication, and wonder.” — Adam Kirsch, Tablet

“There’s rarely a moment in this book ... when Chabon isn’t delivering some of the liveliest and richest writing to be found on the current fiction scene.” — Chris Barsanti, PopMatters

“His most beautifully realized novel to date ... a masterful and resounding novel of the dark and blazing forces that forged our tumultuous, confounding, and precious world.” — Booklist, starred review

“Luminous.... The story builds to core revelations of wartime horror and postwar heartbreak as powerful as they come.” — Library Journal, starred review

“Utterly enchanting. Chabon makes you believe, even as you know you’re being pulled along by the romance of a good story. Moonglow is a novel about faith in storytelling itself.” — Christine Pivovar, The Rumpus

“All stories worth telling are at their hearts mysteries, a search for missing pieces. This is true of both fact and fiction, a point the book deftly makes by the sly counterpoint of those categories. In Moonglow, Chabon has taken on that search with a quiet, cosmic playfulness.” — Talya Zax, Forward

“Charming and elegantly structured.... What seduces the reader is Chabon’s language, which reinvents the world, joyously, on almost every page.” — Publishers Weekly

“[Very powerful]…. Gorgeously written and shaded with sadness, a story of recklessness, bravery and loss that spans the 20th century.” — Kevin Canfield, Kansas City Star

“Moonglow is another literary tour de force by one of America’s great writers, extraordinary rich and poignant.” — Jonathyan Kirsch, The Jewish Journal

“Intoxicating.” — David Wright, Seattle Times

“A marvel of melancholy enchantment.” — Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times

“Moonglow blurs the line between autobiography and fiction in interesting ways, and manages to feel more artful than most memoirs and more true than most novels.” — Bookish

“If we consider the novel a race and the memoir a marathon, Chabon has been training for Moonglow his whole career.” — Julia Cook, The Stranger

“Fascinating.” — Harper Barnes, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

“Inventively fuses family history and fiction but leaves cracks for happiness and meaning to shine through.” — Rebecca Foster, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Book Club Recommendations

Member Reviews

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by Bevstein (see profile) 09/09/20

 
  "Moonglow"by IslandMG (see profile) 06/01/17

I love Michael Chabon's writing and this book is no exception. Although sold as a novel, this is a remembrance of his grandfather, who was quite a character. Great insight to the times of and after World... (read more)

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