Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Reject the agenda, we can knit: A look at 18 US MSM reviewers and literary elites who gave Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue FOUR to FIVE STARS

Here are the major mainstream media and literary elite who reviewed Michael Chabon's Telegraph Avenue, a novel that deals with race and class in graphic detail and who are quoted by his publisher. Here is an honest look at the Micahel Chabon's Telegraph Avenue and an honest look at race that everyone in the states keeps talking about. It will make you uncomfortable. You can find each name of each reviewer by back clicking on the photo. Other than Troy Paterson, Attica Locke (a UK review) and  Michiko Kakutani, the most important book of fiction  about race and the US Black community written in the past decades was reviewed exclusively by white people. Why?

I enjoyed many of the reviews that the critics wrote for this well written, important but deeply flawed book despite finding appalling racial stereotypes within much of the content. Though Michael Chabon seems to welcome an American landscape where race is looked at honestly and with shared respect and community, few of these reviewers were willing to do so and almost none of them mentioned race and class other than to dance around it or distance themselves (and Chabon). The book was giving overwhelmingly 4-5 star reviews with almost no hard look at the incendiary content and appalling racial stereotypes.

Chabon's wife Aylet Waldman, in an unproductive Twitter exchange we had, mentioned "that he was praised by Black critics for writing about race" yet I was only able to find Attica Locke's enjoyable but overwhelming one sided review. Troy Patterson has been quoted as reviewing the book "positively" but his ultimate summation of the book was closer to a kinder version of mine when he wrote:

"The book’s naive outlook is at odds with its sophisticated verbal surface. Chabon has often been a softie; here, his chin-up optimism about the human race proves mostly ingratiating and totally unsupportable in light of what we know about real-life humans. His heart bleeds where you might want him to get some bile up; the man is too nice to attempt anything on the order of social satire. This is the opposite of a Tom Wolfe novel; the most Chabon will do is gently tease the local organic elite, describing a birth where the floor of a canyon home is covered in a Frida Kahlo shower curtain." 

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