Review: The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

My dear friends, if you want a good reading this summer, go for it. If you are a would-be film-maker in search for first class stuff, go for it. But I have heard the Cohen brothers are up to it. This is a magnificent novel and it has all that you expect; even better: do you like hybrids? Then forget about Toyota Prius. This is what you were waiting for. It is a detective tale, a buddy movie, a postromantic love story, a political thriller…and, yes, it is also Alternate History.
Let’s see. The Arab-Hebrew war in Palestine, back in 1948, ended in a complete defeat of the latter who, obviously, were expelled from the Promised Land. And, curiously enough, found a lease in the remote area of Sitka, Alaska. But it is a lease, they will have to renegotiate soon.
Then there is this policeman. Meyer Landsman. A tough guy, old school, somewhat humorous, somewhat in his way to self-destruction in the best literary detective’s tradition. The perfect hero for our story turned History. Because trying to solve another petty crime, he falls over a plot, led by an extreme orthodox rabbi and his quite gangster-like group of followers: they are trying to start a new war in Palestine, convinced that the rabbi’s own son, the victim whose dead was investigating Meyer Landsman, was in fact the Messiah.
Of course Landsman will abort the plot after no few trouble and beating, but the interesting thing here is the counterfact, at least when you are finished enjoying the lecture and begin to think about what is written between the lines. What if Arabs had won the war. Where would be established the Jewish People when expelled from Palestine, if anywhere at all? Would the ultra orthodox factions unleash a war of terror in Palestine?
In the end, there’s something we must think about: after WWII, the Jewish Affair could have ended in any possible way. Maybe like Chabon imagined in his book. And what would do the modern States, the pitiful and ineffective UN? So now, you can read the book, have fun, enjoy a very good story. But please think: the fate of a comparative minority of mankind could spread a global world. Gives one the creeps, do not you think so?

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