Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

The Final Solution

I don't get so many opportunities to listen to audio books as I used to, because I rarely walk into work these days (working from home, driving in for meetings) and H comes with me on my country walks - a welcome development but less reading gets done. But I made special time this weekend to listen to The Final Solution by Michael Chabon. It's only three or four hours long, a novella rather than a novel. It is about Sherlock Holmes (not actually ever named as such) coming out of retirement at age 90-ish, to solve his final case, involving a young Jewish refugee fleeing the Nazi exterminations. It features a wonderful and endearing parrot called Bruno. Can you marry fictional parrots? Not sure.

I always remark how a good reader or actor enhances text. This one was read by Michael York in a lovely restrained musical cadence, which I can hardly describe, but was quite beautiful. So, it may be this is giving me a heightened impression, but it seems to me that this is exceptionally well written. The sentences are complex and yet under complete control, and the metaphors vivid and consistent. The emotional development of the story seemed perfect to me, both moving and dry.

All in all I can not recommend it more highly. I really enjoyed it; as a genre pastiche it's in a class of it's own.

ETA Here is a single sentence, which I have transcribed from audio, so the punctuation is my best guess. The pov at this point is a Malayalam Anglican vicar.
He felt a mounting sense, as they headed down towards Bethnal Green Road, a sense that had obscure roots in that vanished market morning when he had passed among the hectic stalls of the dealers and animals, that they were penetrating to the heart of some authentic mystery of London or perhaps of life itself: that at last in the company of this singular old gentleman, whose command of mystery had at one time been spoken of as far away as Kerala, he might discover some elusive sedation of the heart-breaking clockwork of the world.
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