Our sister (cousin?) publication at UBC, PRISM international, has been doing a great job publishing book reviews and interviews, and has a fascinating interview up with Michael Chabon:
In Kavalier and Clay you went to comics for the feel of the narrative, and in The Yiddish Policeman’s Union you channeled the great detective writers like Chandler and Hammett. In Telegraph Avenue, I found it was your voice I was hearing more than anyone else’s. Were you looking for a specific voice in Telegraph Avenue?
Every book requires that you invent a dialect in which to write it. That was as true of this book as any other. To me, the narrator of this book felt most closely akin to the narrator of Kavalier and Clay. In that book, even though different chapters are written from different characters’ points of view, they are very heavily filtered through the voice of the narrator, who has encyclopedic knowledge of all subjects and is a master of time and history and location. That narrator is present in this book too, but he’s concealed himself under the thoughts and internal voices of the characters, though he reveals himself in flashes. When Archie is first introduced—”moon-faced, mountainous, moderately stoned” and “Oft-noted but not disadvantageous resemblance to Gamera”—those aren’t things Archie thinks about himself. In this book, the narrator steps back more frequently into the background.