Sunday, November 30, 2008

BOOK: Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon

Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon, 197 pages

unread author challenge; genre challenge: adventure

Is this a movie yet? Because I think it will make a fabulous adventure tale, perfect for two actors that I haven't quite cast yet. I'll think on it.

Set in the middle east in a time I'm not sure of, but long ago (wikipedia says it was set in the Kingdom of Arran, in the Caucasus Mountains, between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, A.D. 950.) Not so long ago that there aren't the religions of Muslim, Jews, and Christians all living and fighting together, but but recent enought that there were many names and identifiers that I didn't recognize, but could guess - Rus were Russians, viks maybe the Vikings, Franks were Germans, things like that. There were a lot of terms I had to let go and just read through. It didn't lessen my enjoyment, just my comprehension. At times the sentences were long, and contained a lot of information, and if I lost the thread, it was a long was back to find the start of the sentence and figure out where I lost the topic so I tried to replicate that tendency in this paragraph, so if my thoughts were convoluted, it was intentional.

"It follows two horse thieves—a massive African Jew named Amram, and a hat-loving Frankish Jew named Zelikman—as they become swept up in a rebellion and try to restore a displaced prince to the throne." I copied that from wikipedia because it summed up the plot perfectly. And my biggest problem with the writing was that I wasn't completely sure what all was going on. As I said, it didn't lessen my enjoyment. I've decided to cast Michael Clark Duncan and Ed Norton as the leads. I was slightly influenced by the sketches in the book, one per chapter, by Gary Gianni as I imagined the characters. There was also a map on the inside covers, which I always love. It's this extra attention to detail that makes the story better.

All in all, a great little read - good plot and characters within the slightly confusing writing. Pretty good for a book I hadn't heard of but just grabbed from the popular shelf at the library. I recognized Chabon's name, but not the title. I had a nice little 'frisson of pleasure' at the title drop early in the book.


  1. Glad you liked this. I need to read one of his someday.

    Hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

  2. Intriguing. The historical aspect sounds cool! I've yet to read one of Chabon's, I've heard a lot of good stuff about him.

  3. I've just finished his book 'The Amazing Adventure of Kavalier and Clay' (it won the Pulitzer Prize, which is why you might of heard of him before) I really enjoyed it, so am pleased that you liked this one - I think I'm going to add all his books to my wishlist!


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