A review of Genlemen of the Road
February 5, 2010 Leave a comment
I picked up Gentlemen of the Road by Michael Chabon, my third book of my 26 in 52 challenge, along with Gratitude by Joseph Kertes, which I’m well into right now, at BMV Books just north of Yonge-Dundas last Friday. I’d finished my last book on the way into work and was without any fiction to read. A stop to the used book store was pretty much life or death.
For whatever reason this book spoke to me as I picked it up to read the back cover. It follows the 10th Century travels of Amram, the huge African (think Michael Duncan Clark) and Zelikman (think Alex Skarsgard from True Blood, but skinnier). They’re drifters and when the book picks up their story they’re in the Azerbaijan region. While opposites in many ways, they have a unique bond together and with no strong connections to families the two roam wherever the road takes them, swindling people, mostly drunken men, of their money. This is where the book begins.
After one of these encounters Amram and Zelikman eventually meet a Prince. Though against their ways, they end up connected to the Prince and are sent on the journey that sees their beliefs and friendship challenged. They go from nomadic drifters to players in a political war that isn’t their own.
It was a fun relief to read this novel. The writing was great and it was easy to get where the characters were coming from, which is important to me. My one criticism is that it felt rushed. At 196 pages this story, while told well, could have been made into something more epic and detailed. That being said I still enjoyed it and give it a 3.5/5.