People, I have started taking notes. Now I don't do this whilst reading. Instead, I stick random scraps of paper between pages with passages that I would like to revisit. But...I am trying to sound like an intelligent human being during this read-along and there is a lot of stuff going on and a lot of people to keep track of!
Part two seems to move faster than part one. While I still feel Chabon throws you into the narrative from page one, I think as readers we are used to the deep end by this point and it feels like progress is easier. We also have some idea of the characters now and their relations to each other (which is helped by a page of notes that probably look like chicken scratch to the rest of the world).
Although this novel is ostensibly about the way people of different races relate to each other, this section seemed to be heavily focusing on the idea of generations and legacy. In the beginning of this section, Archy spends time with Mr. Jones as he repairs his speaker. Mr. Jones is the closest thing that Archy has to a father figure and he tries to help him during a stressful time. "Mr. Jones sat there, confounded by grief, turning Archy's information this way and that, a paperweight, something small and heavy cut with a lot of facets. Wanting to say something to this fine and talented young man, something lasting and useful about sons, loss, and regrets." The theme of passing things down through family continues with Nat, who carefully makes the recipes his stepmother used to make in order to get Garnet Singletary, their landlord, to support Nat's efforts to keep the new mega store out of their neighborhood. Nat recalls the way his stepmother cooked and worked around the kitchen as he acknowledges the powerful effect that food can have on people.
While this section has much to say about parents and children, there is also a lot in here about race relations. Nat and Archy are desperate to save their record store from being run off the street by the opening of Gibson Goode's mega record store, which will be a sign of the possibility of success for the poor black people who live on Telegraph Avenue. When Nat gathers people to protest the establishment of the Dogpile Thang (as the store will be called), they are a mostly ragtag group of white folks prepared to fight the opening of a store owned and operated by a successful black man. And...cue the racial tension.
P.S. Did I misunderstand or did Mr. Chabon create a bit of revisionist history with our current president?
So there is a lot happening in this section. I'm excited to see what happens in section three, A Bird of Wide Experience. Come back next Tuesday to find out what happens and make sure to visit the rest of the read-along participants here.