AUTHOR: Michael Chabon
I've now read three of Chabon's novels and each has its own style. This one, revolving around a used record store in Oakland, California, in 2004, is densely written, full of descriptive metaphors and similes that seem to be an attempt to create an underlying soundtrack for the story. It took me a few scenes to get into the rhythm of the prose, but once I did, this became a compulsive read. The story covers race, class, culture, families (fathers and sons, wives and husbands), sins of the past, and trying to hold on to a dream when perhaps a new dream is needed. I came to really care about these characters, the two men who own Brokeland Records and their wives who are partners as midwives, as well as their sons, plus the group of regulars who spend time sifting through Brokeland's stock while hanging out, catching up. A threat of a megastore coming that could put Brokeland out of business sets the story in motion. I was not surprised to read that Chabon created Brokeland and its denizens for an aborted TV show; I was envisioning many of the scenes playing out in front of me.