Friday, April 11, 2014

Gentlemen of the Road, by Michael Chabon

Michael Chabon. Gentlemen of the Road. New York: Ballantine Books, 2008. 206 pages. ISBN 9780345502070.

Zelikman and Amram are the two "gentlemen of the road" of the title. They are con men, staging mock fights to the death, and cleaning up on betting profits. After one such adventure they come across a young man who has been abducted from his family on the Black Sea, presumably in an attempt to protect him from warring factions at home. When his abductor/protector is killed, Zelikman and Amram decide to take him to his final destination, leading them into a fast-paced adventure.

My book club selected this book from a list of books that are being made into movies. At first I thought it was going to be a children's book, since it had large-ish type and included drawn illustrations with captions like many children's books do. But the level of violence is so high, against men, women, children, and animals, that it is clearly not intended to be a children's book. I may end up reading this again before my book club discusses it later this month, but I have to say that this wasn't one of my favorite Michael Chabon books. It's too short to care about any of the characters and it seems a little superficial. The writing is good, as is to be expected of Chabon, but I didn't see the point of the book. If he had lengthened the book and developed the characters more, it would have vastly improved the book for me. The movie is coming out in August, 2014, and I'm looking forward to seeing how they tell this story. I'm betting that they develop the characters a little better!

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