What if, as Franklin Roosevelt once proposed, Alaska – and not Israel – had become the homeland for the Jews after World War II?
In Michael Chabon's Yiddish–speaking 'Alyeska', Orthodox gangs in side–curls and knee breeches roam the streets of Sitka, where Detective Meyer Landsman discovers the corpse of a heroin–addled chess prodigy in the flophouse Meyer calls home. Marionette strings stretch back to the hands of charismatic Rebbe Gold, leader of a sect that seems to have drawn its mission statement from the Cosa Nostra – but behind Rebbe looms an even larger shadow.
Despite sensible protests from Berko, his half–Tlingit, half–Jewish partner, Meyer is determined to unsnarl the meaning behind the murder. Even if that means surrendering his badge and his dignity to the chief of Sitka's homicide unit – also known as his fearsome ex–wife, Bina.
'The Yiddish Policemen's Union' interweaves a homage to the stylish menace of 1940s film noir with a bittersweet fable of identity, home and faith. It is a novel of colossal ambition and heart from one of the most important and beloved writers working today.