Telegraph Avenue

15 CDs. library ed. unabridged. 18¾ hrs. Recorded Bks. 2012. ISBN 9781470322564. $123.75; 2 MP3-CDs. library ed.; Playaway digital; digital download. F
OrangeReviewStarTelegraph Avenue is the gathering place for a complex set of characters brought together by the iconic Brokeland Records. Owners Archy Stallings and Nat Jeffe still treasure used vinyl and the neighborhood camaraderie that's threatened by former NFL quarterback Gibson Goode's proposed megastore that could help revive the decaying area. On the surface, this seems to be a common tale of "urban renewal by mega corporations," but it is personalized by the stories of the two old band mates who have marked their lives by soul and jazz albums and artists; of their wives, Gwen and Aviva, the Berkeley Birth Partners midwives; and of the coming of age of Archy's son. This wide-ranging novel on marriage, race and class, parenting, and trust is possibly Chabon's most exuberant and funny novel to date. Clark Peters is truly a performing narrator, bringing a strong and wise reading to the audiobook.
VERDICT Highly recommended. ["Ambitious, densely written, sometimes very funny, and fabulously over the top, here's a rare book that really could be the great American novel," read the review of the Harper: HarperCollins hc, LJ 8/12. See also the novel's Best Books: More of the Best mention in LJ 12/12,—Ed.]
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