Carmen Machado reviews Telegraph Avenue, the new novel from Michael Chabon:
A sculpture rests on the border between Berkeley and Oakland: the word “HERE” in eight-foot-tall steel letters on the Berkeley side, the word “THERE” on the Oakland side; it is a piece of public art that has drawn the ire of Oakland citizens and guerilla knitters alike. Had it been installed any earlier in the area’s history, it no doubt would have appeared in Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue. The events of the novel, which take place over a several-months-long span in 2004, just before George W. Bush’s reelection victory, spans the East Bay, from Oakland’s Temescal neighborhood to the bougie Berkeley Hills. Like the title’s thoroughfare, the sculpture would be the perfect emblem of one of the novel’s tensions.