Re: The Final Solution

In the early years of WWII, an elderly beekeeper in Sussex is annoyed by a silent young boy who bears a number-chanting parrot on his shoulders. Though the Great Detective is never named, you have little doubt who is pursuing the mystery.

The Final Solution, by Michael Chabon is exquisite in both senses of the word: beautiful and poignant. The beauty is in the prose, too much beauty at times, throwing the reader out of the story either to admire the author or chide him for self-indulgence. It sounds wonderful when read out loud, as I was lucky enough to discover when I heard it on Chapter a Day.

The poignancy takes many forms: the boy’s loss, war erasing the past, and hardest of all, a brilliant man subjected to the indignities of age. The devoted Sherlock Holmes will hate this. The Great Detective is considerably more decrepit than the retired beekeeper in Sussex who was annoyed by an intelligent young girl in the early years of WWI in The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, by Laurie King. Even as a casual fan, I thought it got a bit overwrought. This bothered me more when I read it, rather than listened to it.

Rewards listening.

Tomorrow: Chapter A Day