m. c. de marco: To invent new life and new civilizations...

The Yiddish Policemen's Union

Jon Evans at Tor.com reviews The Yiddish Policemen’s Union:

[…] I approached The Yiddish Policemen’s Union with a certain trepidation, despite its acclaim and fistful of awards.

I needn’t have worried. [Michael] Chabon tackles not just one but damn near every genre here—alternate history, police procedural, noir thriller, fantasy—and succeeds spectacularly at them all. He even manages to breathe new life into the cliched corpse of the alcoholic, divorced, embittered homicide cop: our protagonist, Meyer Landsman, who is drawn into a spiralling maelstrom of trouble when a junkie neighbour at the down-at-heel hotel he calls home is found with a bullet hole in the back of his skull and an unfinished chess game on his chair, only two months before Reversion.

Reversion, you ask? Well. In this alternate history, a (real-world) 1940 proposal to turn part of Alaska into a new home for the Jews became law, and the state of Israel foundered before it was founded, so millions of Jews instead fled from Europe to the boomerang-shaped island of Sitka, off the coast of Alaska, and there built a new, Yiddish-speaking city. The Yiddish Policemen’s Union takes place in 2007, when Sitka is due to revert to Native American control, as Hong Kong reverted to China.

I highly recommend the book. My copy is out circulating somewhere, so you’ll have to find your own.