In preparing this memoir, I have stuck to facts except when facts refused to conform with memory, narrative purpose, or the truth as I prefer to understand it.”
Moonglow was my first introduction to Michael Chabon and I definitely understand why everyone loves him. I was immediately drawn into the story purely based on the concept of the faux-memoir. The line between fiction and memoir are blurred so fantastically that I have to wonder just how much of the story truly is fiction.
I have to wonder because the genesis of Moonglow, like so many other works of fiction, comes from Chabon’s personal experience. The week before his grandfather died Chabon was privy to a slew of deathbed stories and confessions. In Moonglow, the narrator finds himself in precisely the same scenario – hearing stories and learning tidbits of his grandfather’s life. The narrator, like Chabon, learns things he never knew about his grandfather and their family and readers are taken on a journey of family history – and family secrets for that matter – from childhood mischief to the adventures of war. Plus everything in between and beyond.
Every character you meet in this story will stick with you. More than once I caught myself wondering about Grandma and her Fortune-Telling Cards for Witches. Or Creasey and the girl from the circus. I was invested the moment I met every character. Quite frankly I often forgot that I wasn’t reading a memoir.
If you’re a fan of the mockumentary (mock-documentary) you’re definitely going to want to give this faux-memoir a try. Just be prepared to feel all the feels.
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