3.5 Stars truly. I enjoyed Chabon’s prose, I think his writing is engaging and descriptive and lyrical and interesting and I would definitely consider reading another book by him on that merit alone. The story itself was an intriguing one, I enjoy the mystery genre and this had a very noir aesthetic that Chabon’s writing enhanced. But I just didn’t get too involved into it, I wasn’t sucked in. This was my “commute/lunch break book” and I didn’t miss it when I was on holiday for a week. I had a good time reading but I didn’t wait desperately for the next time I could pick it up. And there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s a solid book, a good story, but that’s why it doesn’t get such a high rating from me.
A couple of friends commented that his characterisation of women wasn’t great, even if it was within the context of the main character. I must admit I didn’t pick up on it. Landsman was a bit shallow about his ex-wife but, eh, I wasn’t fussed particularly. I did think the characters were mostly well written and well described, I could imagine each of them without Chabon being too heavy on the specifics. It’s a good writer that doesn’t have to be heavy handed on the adjectives but can still conjure full images into your brain and there’s no doubt about that.
I’m glad I read it, I will read another book by Chabon based on his writing style alone, but for me it’s not the “Brilliant (detective) novel” that it is for John Green. But I’m glad he asked us to read it. Because Life’s Library is for reading outside of what we know and this was a good part of the tour.