I am literally more excited about this than anything else in the world. By which I mean that I’m not, really, but I am. Sometimes, it feels like the only thing that matters, but then, usually, I end up thinking about other things.
That’s art for you. Sometimes everything, although, of course, not.
The grandfather in Moonglow — who is only ever referred to as “my grandfather” — is the protagonist of the book, even though it’s told in first person through the eyes of his grandson, Mike, who is putatively Chabon. Although, of course, not.
“In a weird way, it’s a memoir of not my life, but my imaginative life, like a history of my imagination and also my experience of marriage and family, having children, even though the marriage in the book’s not like my marriage, and the parent–child relationship, that’s a stepdaughter and a stepfather,” he said. “Yet, still, I felt so much. I was reading it to submit it for the last time, and Ayelet was reading the last time, too, and we just started talking about, like, it’s weird how it feels like that grandfather’s really me in a lot of ways.”
Mr. Chabon is one of contemporary literature’s most gifted prose stylists, and in novels like “Telegraph Avenue” and “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union,” he’s demonstrated his Jedi-like mastery, his ability to move effortlessly between the serious and the comic, the existential and merely personal. In “Moonglow,” he writes with both lovely lyricism and highly caffeinated fervor. He conjures Mike’s childhood with Proustian ardor, capturing his fond memories of his mother (who smelled of Prell shampoo, making him think of those old TV commercials showing a pearl languidly drifting through the mentholated green) and his worst boyhood fears (convinced that a gaggle of evil-looking puppets were lying in wait, plotting to kill him). He makes Oakland, Calif., in the 1970s come alive — and does the same for Baltimore in the 1950s and Florida in the late 1980s.
The book won’t arrive in the UK until January. I could, of course, buy an e-book when it comes out in the US. Although, of course, I won’t do that. Most likely, while waiting for this new book, I will return through the various wonders of Chabon’s past, tangling with my tendency towards aetataureatean delusions and flying with joy through the galactic air of his prose.
Happy reading, readers.