Inspired by his real-life grandfatherâ€™s deathbed storytelling, Michael Chabon weaves together a fictional tale of a grandfatherâ€™s intrepid and winding life, as told to his grandson.
I wanted to like Moonglow. I really, really did.
But I didnâ€™t.
I understand Chabonâ€™s desire to retell his grandfatherâ€™s story.
When I think of my own grandparents and how much I miss them, I revel in the precious memories of the stories they told. The cloth bags of flour that would be sewn into dresses for the girls during the Depression. Tales from the schoolyard. The love story that bloomed after my grandfather came back from WWII. And of course, every moment of my own parentsâ€™ upbringing.
There are so many details I want to wrap around me and wear like a blanket. I want to know every moment of my grandparentsâ€™ histories and bring them back to life in the retelling.
For Michael Chabon, I imagine writing Moonglow was a labor of love.
Without that context and preexisting glowing admiration of the minutiae of his life, though, reading it for me was more of a labor.
Moonglow could have been condensed by about half. There seemed to be a lot of words that went nowhere.
Again, this book got great reviews. Many people called it Chabonâ€™s tour de force.
In fact, I predicted it (wrongly) as a bracket winner in its spot in The Morning Newsâ€™ Tournament of Books.
Iâ€™m willing to say itâ€™s not him; itâ€™s me. Itâ€™s quite likely I missed something crucial in Moonglow that failed to pierce my ice-cold heart of stone.