A New York Times Bestseller
The Wall Street Journal Best Book of 2016
Longlisted for the 2017 Carnegie Medal for Literature
A November 2016 LibraryReads Pick
An Amazon Best Book of the Month for November 2016
A BookPage Top Pick for December 2016
In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother’s home in Oakland, California, to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon’s grandfather shared recollections and told stories never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten. That dreamlike week of revelations forms the basis of the novel Moonglow, the latest feat of legerdemain in the ongoing magic act that is the art of Michael Chabon.
Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as “my grandfather.” It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire, and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact—and the creative power—of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies. A gripping, poignant, tragicomic, scrupulously researched and wholly imaginary transcript of a life that spanned the dark heart of the twentieth century, Moonglow is also a tour de force of speculative history in which Chabon attempts to reconstruct the mysterious origins and fate of Chabon Scientific, Co., an authentic mail-order novelty company whose ads for scale models of human skeletons, combustion engines, and space rockets were once a fixture in the back pages of Esquire, Popular Mechanics and Boy’s Life. Along the way Chabon devises and reveals, in bits and pieces whose hallucinatory intensity is matched only by their comic vigor and the radiant moonglow of his prose, a secret history of his own imagination.
From the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to the penal utopia of New York’s Wallkill Prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of “the American Century,” Moonglow collapses an era into a single life and a lifetime into a single week. A lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional nonfiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir, Moonglow is Chabon at his most daring, his most moving, his most Chabonesque.
“The best novel of 2016 was a moving work of escapism. Michael Chabon’s Moonglow is ostensibly an account of his grandfather’s life, but really a spellbinding collection of Greatest Generation tall tales. He lovingly describes an American melting pot that gives a home to refugees, bands together to fight Nazis and constructs rockets that carry men to the Moon. Whether the stories are meant to be aspirational or elegiac, they were beautiful to live in, and I missed the world they made when the book was done.”
Wall Street Journal
“An exuberant meld of fiction and family history.”
O, The Oprah Magazine
“Chabon weaves these knotted-together tales together into a tapestry that’s as complicated, beautiful, and flawed as an antique carpet.”
New York Times
“A wondrous book that celebrates the power of family bonds and the slipperiness of memory…like the dark matter at the center of every family’s cosmos.”
“An exercise in exploring the slippery nature of truth, memory, and what makes a compelling story.”
San Francisco Chronicle
“A masterful and resounding novel.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Sparkling, richly satisfying.”
George Newbern is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and a television and film actor best known for his roles as Brian MacKenzie in Father of the Bride and Father of the Bride Part II, as well as Danny in Friends. As a voice actor, he is notable for his role as Superman on the Cartoon Newtork series Static Shock, Justice League, and Justice League Unlimited. He holds a BA in theater arts from Northwestern University.
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- Publisher: HarperCollins
- Genre: Fiction/Literary
- ISBN-13: 978-0-06-222559-7