I'm going to keep the reviews for last week's sections short. I commented on everyone's blogs, so I know the conversation has already been had.
III. A Bird of Wide Experience
I think I noticed that it was one long paragraph on the first page. And not because I'm a genius or anything. The opposite - my mind starts to wander to laundry and other things if it isn't given boundaries. So I immediately thought - something isn't right here! That being said - I loved this chapter. It felt like I was taking flight with Fifty-Eight, watching Telegraph Avenue from his point of view. The sweep of the words and the brilliancy of the visuals swept me away. It's definitely the first section of this book that I actually loved.
IV. Return to Forever
I had a thought during Part III that I thought I'd save until this section. Do you think Quentin Tarantino was given an early copy of this book? What do you think he thinks of it? Are he and Chabon buddies? I base everything off of Kav & Clay, but it seems both Chabon and Tarantino rely on the same eras of pop-culture.
Another similarity, which seems to shine through to me even more now that we debated whether or not Titus is gay (and then, whether or not Archy, Chan and possibly even Luther harbor homosexual feelings in V) - Tarantino is kind of known for his ambiguous sexuality - I mean, aside from that foot thing that came out recently. That seems to fit in with some sort of theme here. Not to mention... the author. I know he's married with children, but - given the similar themes of both this book and Kav & Clay in regards to homosexuality... where does Chabon fall on the Kinsey scale?
Archy grew a little on me this section. Mostly it was Gwen's admission that Archy is - "a man remained undiminished by her reluctance to confront him." That and the fact that all of Archy's inactions and non-decisions seem to be piling up behind him. He's a stupid man, yet somehow, at his core, a good one. He doesn't mean well, but he also doesn't mean ill. He's driven to stay still only by some sort of fear. And when you finally meet Luther, you can't help buy try and understand why Archy is the way he is.
With the exception of the final passage, I thought this was a fitting ending to the book. There was a lot of that I loved - Gwen's departure from midwifery, Archy finally standing up for himself and family, Julie and Mrs. Jew going to get Titus so he could be there for the birth of his brother (and Gwen's desire to have him there), Nat finally accepting chaos and change.
It was that last passage - even perhaps the last two passages - that kind of threw the ending for me (in such a way that maybe now the book gets a 3 when I do my full review, rather than a 4). It just felt forced, like everything he meant to accomplish was accomplished in the hospital room, but he still was obliged to tell us about Gwen's lawsuit and what Archy and Nat are going to do post-Brokeland. Though, I did love the last line:
"He eased his foot off the brake, thinking as they rolled away that, after all, perhaps one day a few years from now, he might have recovered enough to feel like he was ready to stop in. Say hi, drop a little lore and history on the man, tell him all about Angelo's, and Spencer's, and the Brokeland years. See how they put the world together, next time around."
So that's it! It's over. Thank you so much to Emily from As the Crowe Flies (And Reads!) for hosting. It was a lot of fun and I'm going to miss all of the other participants. If you're interested, you can pre-order the book here.