Saturday, October 31, 2015

THE FINAL SOLUTION by Michael Chabon

I have never read a single Sherlock Holmes novel, but Michael Chabon apparently has.  This novella is an homage to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous gumshoe.  Holmes is known here simply as a nameless old man who once solved sticky crimes and can still recognize the merest trifles as clues to the case he’s investigating.  We have a murder and a missing parrot who spouts forth number sequences in German.  In fact, the murder probably stems from a dispute over the parrot, who may harbor some sinister secret, to which the numbers are a key, such as the combination to a safe or a Swiss bank account number.  The parrot has a completely different value to a mute boy, as both a beloved pet and as the boy’s lost voice—sort of.   The plot is really pretty simple, but Chabon’s language is anything but.  The writing is so beautiful that it somehow camouflages what is really happening—so much so that I found myself frequently having to reread critical passages. 

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