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Title: Moonglow
By: Michael Chabon

I listened to this book on CD and was so impressed with Michael Chabon’s semi-fictional memoir about his grandfather that I also read the book. While presented as a novel, it is based to some degree on his conversations with his grandfather and other family members, and is a fascinating view of 20th century American history. In this telling, his partly fictional grandfather was a talented engineer and imperfect man, extremely interested in rockets and space travel, who served in WW II. Following a stint in the OSS, he hunted for unexploded rockets in Europe for US intelligence. The infamous V-2 rocket, designed by Wernher von Braun, was of particular interest: as a rocket, it was a thing of beauty, but its beauty was perverted by its use as a weapon. “The poor bastard! He had built a ship to loft us to the very edge of heaven, and they had used it as a messenger of hell.”

In an interview in the L.A. Times, Chabon said, "one of the nonfictional bases for this book is that when my actual grandfather was dying, he was on heavy-duty painkillers. He did talk a lot, and his memory was activated in an interesting way, maybe by some combination of proximity to death and these painkillers. I'd heard a lot of his stories, but these things that he was remembering during this period when I was sitting with him right before he died were new, like new boxes had been brought down from the attic and opened up."

Above all the true and fictional storylines, the love Michael Chabon has for his grandfather flies high.

View similarly tagged posts: fiction, audiobook

Posted on June 9, 2018 at 1:31 a.m.

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