Monday, April 30, 2007

The Yiddish Policemen's Union

Coming out Tuesday May 1, 2007:

The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

Published: April 29, 2007
New York Times

Sitka, Alaska

ASIDE from geography, Sitka, a boomerang-shaped island in the southeastern panhandle of Alaska, has very little in common with the imaginary city named Sitka conjured up by Michael Chabon in his latest book, “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.”

In this fourth novel, which comes out Tuesday, Mr. Chabon takes a historical footnote, a pie-in-the-sky proposal to open up the Alaska Territory in 1940 to European Jews marked for extermination, and asks: What if? What if this proposal, which in real life was supported by the secretary of the interior, Harold Ickes, but killed in Congress, had actually passed?

Here's a quote from an article by Tom Kissa in the Anchorage Daily News:

"Imagine, if you please, a city of 3.2 million people on the shores of Baranof Island around Sitka. The official language is Yiddish, the inhabitants are Jews, and their lights stretch across the in-filled sound from Mount Edgecumbe to some place called Shvartsn-Yam. They have been gathering in Southeast since World War II, when U.S. officials hatched a plan to transport refugees from Europe to the territory of Alaska."

See the article below from Alaska History and Cultural Studies for background:

The King-Havenner Bill of 1940
Dashed Hopes for a Jewish Immigration Haven in Alaska


Anonymous said...

So Sitka would have been like Israel. Wow, I didn't know that.
Maybe if that bill had passed there wouldn't be so much going on on the Middle East.
Sometimes the most defining events are the ones that didn't happen.

the teach said...

Yes, jm4847, I didn't think of it like that...hmmm.

RC said...

this is more than Chabon's 4th novel.

unless they're counting some as novelas?


the teach said...

RC here's a list:
Books by Michael Chabon
Summerland (October 2002)
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000)
Werewolves in Their Youth: Stories (1999)
Wonder Boys (1995)
The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988)
A Model World and Other Stories (1988)

Two of these are stories but then that leaves 4 books are they all novels? Then that would make "The Yiddish Policeman..." the fifth. But I don't know...