Thursday, January 26, 2017

Review: Moonglow

On his deathbed, a grandfather tells his grandson all of the stories that he has never divulged before. These tales may be or may not be based on the ones that Chabon's own grandfather told him. The grandfather takes his grandson and the reader on a dizzying journey as he jumps around in time from a childhood in Philadelphia to the battlefields of WWII to the space program and even a Florida retirement community.

In many ways, Moonglow is the story of a life and a family. The people have highs and lows and triumphs and defeats. But this is also a book that grapples with the importance of story - do we have an imperative to tell our stories? What is the importance of truth when relating our pasts to the people we love?

It's also a beautiful tribute to a space program at the height of its powers, when girls and boys and men and women dreamed of going beyond the stars. The grandfather is in love with space and dreams of being the engineer who makes something fly to its farthest reaches. But his attention is also earth-bound as he falls deeply in love with a woman who has scars from WWII.

It took me some time to get truly invested in this book and the people that I met between its covers. But weeks later, I am still thinking about the characters and the moments that shaped their lives. If that isn't indicative of Michael Chabon's power as a writer, I'm not sure what is. Up to this point, I would have said that my favorite of his books is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Now? It just might be a tie.

By Michael Chabon
Harper November 2016
430 pages
From my shelves


  1. New author for me. Thanks for the review.

  2. It's really interesting which books stick with you! The staying power of a book can definitely re-assess my original rating, in either direction :)