The Final Solution
A Story of Detection
By Michael Chabon
(Harper, Hardcover, 9780060763404, 144pp.)
Publication Date: November 2004
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In the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, prose magician Michael Chabon conjured up the golden age of comic books -- intertwining history, legend, and storytelling verve. In The Final Solution, he has condensed his boundless vision to craft a short, suspenseful tale of compassion and wit that reimagines the classic nineteenth-century detective story.
In deep retirement in the English country-side, an eighty-nine-year-old man, vaguely recollected by locals as a once-famous detective, is more concerned with his beekeeping than with his fellow man. Into his life wanders Linus Steinman, nine years old and mute, who has escaped from Nazi Germany with his sole companion: an African gray parrot. What is the meaning of the mysterious strings of German numbers the bird spews out -- a top-secret SS code? The keys to a series of Swiss bank accounts perhaps? Or something more sinister? Is the solution to this last case -- the real explanation of the mysterious boy and his parrot -- beyond even the reach of the once-famed sleuth?
Subtle revelations lead the reader to a wrenching resolution. This brilliant homage, which won the 2004 Aga Khan Prize for fiction, is the work of a master storyteller at the height of his powers.
Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prizewinning author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Summerland (a novel for children), The Final Solution, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, and Gentlemen of the Road; as well as the short story collections A Model World and Werewolves in Their Youth; and the essay collections Maps and Legends and Manhood for Amateurs. He is the Chairman of the Board of the MacDowell Colony. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.
“One of the best-written American novels published this fall . . . an experiment by a master.”
-The New York Sun
“A profound pleasure.”
-New York magazine
“Delightful…and deceptively profound...Chabon shows his greatness.”
-Louisville Courier Journal
“Simple and startlingly sad…Chabon has created a minor masterpiece.”
“A haunting novella.”
“Brilliant and unswervingly entertaining.”
“The writing is everything that Chabon’s fans expect--gorgeous, muscular, mildly melancholic…wonderfully executed.”
“Packed with gorgeous writing…a knockout. You’ll be done before you know it. Then you might well read it again.”
-Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
“Michael Chabon, is, simply, the coolest writer in America.”
-Christian Science Monitor
“Chabon’s writing here is elegant and limber…[The Final Solution] is a little mystery story with big ideas.”
-San Francisco Chronicle (Best Books of 2004)
“A knockout…you’ll be done before you know it. Then you might well read it again.”
“Watching Chabon skillfully zigzag between literary and genre is half the fun of the book…refreshing.”
“Exuberant…the real mystery is how Chabon managed to fit so much hope and humanity into such a brief tale.”
“Infused with a graceful, elegiac atmosphere…wrought with innovative construction, glittering with epiphany…remarkable.”