I Finally Finished Telegraph Avenue

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I finally finished reading Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon. It took months, mostly because I would read until I couldn’t stand the writing, then set it down for a week. I had to wait until I forgot how much I wasn’t enjoying the book before I could pick it up again. And honestly, that’s really disappointing.

It wasn’t a bad book, persay, and there were parts of it I liked a lot. The whole thing felt like Chabon was writing way out of his element and needed an editor with a much heavier hand. I get that it was more of an experiment for him, and props for expanding his writing style, but all in all–bleck. I’m glad I finished it.

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I told myself I couldn’t start JK Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy until I finished Telegraph Avenue. I have, I’m already 200 pages in and so far–mixed reviews. I love her writing, and she’s incredibly talented, but the style doesn’t fit the story very well. I can’t decide if her style is inherently whimsical, or if it’s just residual attachment to Harry Potter, but I keep waiting for The Big Plot Twist Involving Magic. I know it isn’t there, but still. A lot of the plot is too dark and serious for the bouncy way she writes, and if it stays that way the entire time I’ll say it’s not a very good book. But I’m still enjoying it more than Chabon’s most current hotmessexpress.

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4 thoughts on “I Finally Finished Telegraph Avenue

  1. That’s such a shame about Telegraph Avenue, since Chabon is incredibly talented. I have had it on my to-read list (especially considering that I live literally 1 block away from Telegraph Avenue! Fun fact!) but if it’s really a chore to read… well, I may just put it off some more.

    • I really wish I could say better things about it, but I can’t. Maybe your close connection will make the book more interesting? The story was pretty good–it mostly just needed a better (and stricter) editor.

  2. I agree. I’m 270 pages in, and I have no desire to finish it. As a matter of fact, I’m putting it down tonight never to pick it up again. The prose is not as disciplined as his previous works (I’ve read K&C, MoP, WiTY, and YPU). Too many adverbs and adjectives for my tastes, too. Too many “clever” analogies. And as much as I like exposition at times, there’s way too much of that here for me, too. Frankly, it’s boring, and I don’t care enough about the characters to know what happens. I’m disappointed. Maybe it’s a result of reading a lot of Wendell Berry and Jim Harrison lately. I think I’ll go back to them now.

    • Oh my gosh yes! I’m so grateful to hear that I’m not the only one this disappointed by the book. Yeah, put it down and don’t ever pick it back up. He never picks up the thread he spends most of the book laying down, and it’s just so frustrating.

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