Saturday, July 14, 2012

Telegraph Avenue Read-Along: Week Two

I am writing to you all from Broken Bow Reservoir in southwestern Oklahoma, where I am camping with my family. Because of my remote location, I am typing this on my iPhone, so this will be short. I promise a more regular update next week.

We open the section with Mr. Jones, who, as it turns out, was raised in Oklahoma City. He and Archy are hanging out while Archy fixes Mr. Jones' Leslie before a gig that night. I really liked that scene since it gave us some background on Coachie Jones and helped to put his relationship with Archy in some perspective. I also feel a closeness to ol' Mr. Jones because we had a similar experience in the kid department. I very much understand the frustration of watching people have kids that they don't even want while other people are unable to have the children that they so desperately want.

But the scene that's really blowing me away at the moment is the scene in which the perspective switches to Senator Barak Obama. Michael Chabon has some balls, big
giant balls. It was really out of left field and rather well done. It was a weird way of giving us a glimpse of what it is about Archy that Gwen loves so much. Up until that point I couldn't figure out why she would stay with him, and even though I still don't really get it, I guess I can live with the explanation.

I found the scene with Nat cooking kind of confusing at first, but after a while I found my place in it and was able to get some new backstory on Nat. His stepmother was black, he grew up in a black neighborhood, had all black friends, loved black music, but absolutely refused to act black.

Another surprise in this section - Gwen is preggers with TWINS. Aaaaaand ahe's leaving Archy. I liked that scene too. Very Gwen.

EDIT - I've read ahead and I'm pretty sure I misread the line that led me to believe that Gwen was going to have twins.  The quote is: "Then Gwen would be responsible for three babies instead of the two she had ordered." HemingwayHeroine mentioned in the comments that the "two she had ordered" referred to ARCHY and the baby and now I'm inclined to follow that logic. 

Finally there's the contrasting of the meeting that Nat throws at the store to get the neighborhood to move against the Thang, playing mostly off white guilt, to the meeting between Archy and Gibson Goode, mostly trying to pull at the strings of Archy's blackness.

Finally, the language is excellent and the sentences are as wonderful a they were in the first section. As soon as I'm done typing this up I'm going to read on and see what happens next. I probably won't be able to hop around and read everybody's thoughts until the weekend, but I'm really looking forward to everybody's comments.

Better post next week, I promise.

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