The Yiddish Policemen's Union - Michael Chabon image
Christmas 2010: I realised that I had got stuck in a rut. I was re-reading old favourites again and again, waiting for a few trusted authors to release new works. Something had to be done.

On the spur of the moment I set myself a challenge, to read every book to have won the Locus Sci-Fi award. That’s 35 books, 6 of which I’d previously read, leaving 29 titles by 14 authors who were new to me.

While working through this reading list I got married, went on my honeymoon, switched career and became a father. As such these stories became imprinted on my memory as the soundtrack to the happiest period in my life (so far).

Have you ever thought that you were in love, only to realise, surprised in the middle of some mundane moment (such as pouring a cup of tea or hanging up your coat) that you are not in love at all? You were only ever, briefly, excited and infatuated – and that tantalising, mesmerising infatuation has now lifted from your eyes.

I thought, for a while, that I was in love with Michael Chabon. His use of language is so seductive – such sensuous sentences and playful, poetic paragraphs! The man is a natural wordsmith. The inspiration for this alternative reality is both wacky and deadpan, the noir homage both familiar and refreshing. I swooned!

I remember posting a status update on Facebook:

I kept stroking the book and bimbling around with a skip in my step.

This was only a couple of weeks away from my wedding day – love was in the air and I had more than enough to share with Mister Chabon!

And then... I remember it so clearly. I was in the pub, getting some lunch. I picked a comfy corner with a bench, hooked my feet up beside me and cut up all my sausages so I could eat with just one hand. I was all cosy, curled into the wall, book in one hand, fork in the other, pint of beer waiting, delectable in front of me… it was a perfect moment… Then I started to read and the magic that had captivated me beforehand just wasn’t there any more. It felt flat; facetious, smug and smarmy. From hanging off every word, I found myself struggling to stay focused. My eyes were repelled from the page. I had to fight to finish what I’d started. By the end, it was a matter or pride, but I wasn’t enjoying it any more.

I did a bi-polar flip over this book.
It was an emotional and exhausting experience.

The idea of reading another Chabon makes me feel ill – I can’t handle that kind of heart-ache – I read for pleasure, man!

Somewhere between those giddy highs and dizzy lows, I’ll give the book a 3-star rating.

Now where did I leave my meds…?