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Exclusive: The First Lines of Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue

By posted at 6:00 am on June 6, 2012 7

coverWe’re already looking ahead to a number of exciting titles coming this fall, and near the top of that list is Michael Chabon’s new novel Telegraph Avenue. Much is now emerging about this new novel, set for release in September, but we’ve heard that it grew out of an abortive TV project of the same name, which was said to detail the lives of families of different races living in Oakland and Berkeley, something that is evident in the book’s opening paragraphs:

A white boy rode flatfoot on a skateboard, towed along, hand to shoulder, by a black boy pedaling a brakeless fixed-gear bike. Dark August morning, deep in the Flatlands. Hiss of tires. Granular unraveling of skateboard wheels against asphalt. Summer-time Berkeley giving off her old-lady smell, nine different styles of jasmine and a squirt of he-cat.

The black boy raised up, let go of the handlebars. The white boy uncoupled the cars of their little train. Crossing his arms, the black boy gripped his T-shirt at the hem and scissored it over his head. He lingered inside the shirt, in no kind of hurry, as they rolled toward the next pool of ebbing streetlight. In a moment, maybe, the black boy would tug the T-shirt the rest of the way off and fly it like a banner from his back pocket. The white boy would kick, push, and reach out, feeling for the spark of bare brown skin against his palm. But for now the kid on the skateboard just coasted along behind the blind daredevil, drafting.

Keep an eye out for our big second-half preview in less than a month, which will include more on Telegraph Avenue and dozens of other books coming this fall and beyond.





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7 Responses to “Exclusive: The First Lines of Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue”

  1. Largehearted Boy: Shorties (Michael Chabon, Wilco's Free E-book, and more)
    at 10:35 am on June 6, 2012

    [...] The Millions shares the first paragraphs of Michael Chabon's forthcoming novel, Telegraph Avenue. [...]

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    at 11:10 am on June 6, 2012

    [...] JUST KIDDING. Those are the opening of Fifty Shades of Grey. Actual Chabon stuff here. [...]

  3. Karl Kim
    at 12:38 pm on June 6, 2012

    It reads like a television script. Pass.

  4. Vatican Book Ban Is the New Oprah Effect; Remembering Ray Bradbury | Con Games
    at 5:43 pm on June 7, 2012

    [...] In other exclusive previews, check out the first lines of Michael Chabon's new novel, Telegraph Avenue, via The Millions. There's more to come, they promise, in less than a month. [The Millions] [...]

  5. Simon Collinson
    at 11:34 pm on June 7, 2012

    I have a proof copy, and the couple of pages I’ve read so far have been pretty good. Looking forward to hearing what you think of it. (Incidentally, that ‘TV script’ tone Karl doesn’t like fades after those first two paragraphs.)

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    at 10:21 am on July 22, 2012

    [...] music writing is noted elsewhere in this post (see Fear of Music). Excerpt courtesy of the Millions here. (Comes out September 11th [...]

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