Weaving elements of classic noir detective thriller with an alternate history setting based on FDR’s proposal to establish a temporary homeland for Jews displaced by World War 2 in and around Sitka, Alaska, the Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay pulls off an audacious feat of verbal legerdemain. One of the great stylists of his generation, Chabon succeeds in mixing a heady brew of politics, history, suspense, and chess into a work that is both entertaining and thought-provoking.— Matt, Los Angeles
“A hardboiled mythical/comic/religious/political page-turner of a novel. We're talking serious fun here. This book is playful, outlandish, and inventive -- and it's all pulled together with great panache into a wonderful reading experience.”
— Tom Campbell, The Regulator Bookshop, Durham, NC
For sixty years Jewish refugees and their descendants have prospered in the Federal District of Sitka, a "temporary" safe haven created in the wake of the Holocaust and the shocking 1948 collapse of the fledgling state of Israel. The Jews of the Sitka District have created their own little world in the Alaskan panhandle, a vibrant and complex frontier city that moves to the music of Yiddish. But now the District is set to revert to Alaskan control, and their dream is coming to an end.
Homicide detective Meyer Landsman of the District Police has enough problems without worrying about the upcoming Reversion. His life is a shambles, his marriage a wreck, his career a disaster. And in the cheap hotel where Landsman has washed up, someone has just committed a murder right under his nose. When he begins to investigate the killing of his neighbor, a former chess prodigy, word comes down from on high that the case is to be dropped immediately, and Landsman finds himself contending with all the powerful forces of faith, obsession, evil, and salvation that are his heritage.
At once a gripping whodunit, a love story, and an exploration of the mysteries of exile and redemption, The Yiddish Policemen's Union is a novel only Michael Chabon could have written.