2009: 9. Gentlemen of the Road

“For numberless years a myna had astounded travelers to the caravansary with its ability to spew indecencies in ten languages, and before the fight broke out everyone assumed the old blue-tongued devil on its perch by the fireplace was the one who maligned the giant African with such foulness and verve.”

Gentlemen of the Road, Michael Chabon

This is Chabon writing in the genre mode that he discussed in Maps and Legends (indeed, this is the “Jews with Swords”  story he refers to therein).  I love Chabon, and I love that he writes genre (you don’t need to poke around this blog too long before you realize that I am big fan of genre - at least the mystery genre), but I didn’t love this book.  I guess I’m not that into adventure stories, when all is said and done, and therefore didn’t get that much out of this one (plus, while I guess he was “playing with common tropes”, I thought some stuff danced dangerously close to cliche - not all, some was quite inventive, but at least one big reveal was something I’d seen done, oh, ten billion times before, and I don’t even like stories like this that much).  Anyway, it is set in the Silk Road in the mythic Jewish Kingdom of Khazaria where two gentlemen of the road (i.e. confidence men/tricksters) are trying to make a living when they get swept in (against their better judgment in the manner of all such tales) into a battle of honor to reclaim a kingdom.  There are tricks, and wars and derring-do and all that, and it ends as all tales do.*  A fun read if its your kind of thing, but not up to what Chabon can do, so not my favorite.

* That is, with a basically happy ending. But with some poignancy to make it stick.


Date/Place Completed: 1/13/09; D.C.

Categories:  Fiction, Library Book

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017