I finally picked up The Yiddish Policemen's Union
by Michael Chabon. I had heard a lot of positive word of mouth about
this book so I grabbed a copy last week at my downtown library. I was
in the mood to read a little fiction after reading so much nonfiction
over the last six months. It took me a bit to get into the flow of
Chabon's book but once I did I enjoyed it. Cast in an alternate reality
where the modern state of Israel does not exist but several million
Jews reside in Sitka Alaska, Chabon's world is familiar enough to give
the reader some grounding in reality but slightly different enough to
make things interesting in a fun "what if" kind of way. It was fun,
there were a few plot twists along the way and I was well entertained. While Chabon's frequent use of Yiddish words helps create a slightly exotic and unfamiliar world, he should have including a glossary at the back of the book to aid the Semetically challanged. Before you read Chabon's book, I would first read Michael Wex's rather excellent Born to Kvetch:Yiddish Language and Culture in All of its Moods.
Trust me, you will be glad you did. Heck, read it even if you don't read Chabon's novel.