Telegraph Avenue

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Telegraph Avenue

Telegraph Avenue is a romp, an astounding, radiant, triumphant novel.

Chabon has set out to present his readers with a slice-of-life portrait of a neighborhood at a crossroads. The problem is that Telegraph Avenue is no mere slice — it's an entire deep-dish pie of humanity, packed with prose capable of dazzling us even as it leaves us feeling overstuffed and logy.

It’s a quiet call not for a blind fight against homogenization or gentrification, but to hope for some sort of continuity, a single, simple place where people can gather to talk and laugh, and it’ll be just like old times.

"Telegraph Avenue" is fantastic but in a different way: It returns to the realism of his earliest novels, "The Mysteries of Pittsburgh" and "Wonder Boys," with dizzying language, a delight in process and paragraph after paragraph of word-drunk riffs.

Like a favourite old jazz LP, it's richly pleasurable from beginning to end.

There is something deeply current about this wise and soulful novel, even as its main characters are so deeply mired in the past.

“Telegraph Avenue” often feels as though it requires more labor than it deserves.

His people become so real to us, their problems so palpably netted in the author’s buoyant, expressionistic prose, that the novel gradually becomes a genuinely immersive experience — something increasingly rare in our ADD age.