Michael Chabon’s Gentlemen of the Road

Gentlemen of the Road, the newest novel from critically acclaimed author Michael Chabon, was originally titled Jews with Swords. It’s one of the greatest mistakes in all of publishing history that the original title wasn’t kept; Jews with Swords evokes a humorous, anachronistic sense of adventure that sums up the spirit of the book in a way that the bland title Gentlemen of the Road can never hope to do. The failed potential of its title aside, Gentlemen of the Road is still worth considering; not only is it an interesting departure for Chabon, but it’s also a quick, fun read, a light and entertaining adventure reminiscent of Dumas and other serial adventure stories. Continue reading

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Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day

“Now single up all lines!” begins Thomas Pynchon’s Against the Day, a fairly simple beginning for an author known for being convoluted and obscure. I’ll take any chance I can get to write about Pynchon, and the first paperback release of Against the Day seems to warrant it. In case you missed its original release last winter, the novel typical Pynchon: a sprawling epic filled with hundreds of characters, stretching across the world (and beneath it, and a few other places not on the map) and spanning the era from 1893 to World War I. Although it doesn’t quite equal the achievement of his earlier work, Against the Day is a solid entry into the Pynchon canon, consistently offering enough fantastic characters, absurd and expansive settings, and bizarre humor to make it his most entertaining work to date. Continue reading