The Final Solution
Michael Chabon's short homage to classic detective fiction (the protagonist is a barely-disguised, albeit very aged, Sherlock Holmes) is set in the English countryside during the end of WWII.
Fourth Estate, 131 pages
Mystery & Thrillers
Originally published in the Paris Review.
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Dan B. gave it a7:
It's sort of a Sherlock Holmes mystery and sort of nothing like one (multiple points of view, including Holmes' and a parrot's, for one; and the mystery's not very complex and requires no incredible deductions). Because it's so short and light, it almost doesn't matter that it's neither here nor there. I wouldn't pay full price for it (and I didn't--got the original hardcover at deep discount), but if you like Chabon in general you'll probably like this. It's *not* overwritten--nowhere was I put out by some big word or excessively heavy prose, at least. And it is a cute/interesting idea, to play with Holmes in his "dotage", to see how his incredible mind has been dulled by memory loss and mild dementia (or whatever it is)--it's probably a good enough idea to write a book around, and it's not delved into very deeply (or even interestingly) in this story.
Jon H gave it a4:
Chabon's worst, not worth buying to say the least, not even really worth a rental at the library, it's so short yet it should of been even shorter, it's badly overwritten I'm sorry to say. Do yourself a favor and find another detective story to read, you'll thank me.
Chris J gave it an8:
Where one may criticize Chabon for not fufilling the drama theatrics of the standard mystery genre through his use of plotline, you can't help but enjoy his slight nose thumbing by using the genre as more of a wonderful character study and a pedestal to say, "not all mystery solutions need be over the top." But don't be fooled...you still have a fantastic story pepperd with hints, dead-ends, and the "A-HA!" moment still found in detective stories. And as much as Chabon maybe accused of "over writing" a sub-par plot, I in fact invited his way with language. If anything it just reinforced his respect and love for the genre.
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