The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

What do you get when you cross a hard-boiled detective story with Yiddish tongue-twisters and the game of chess? That would be Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, a novel that grapples with the implications of a history that never took place. It’s a world where Israel was decimated by its enemies; in the wake of this second holocaust, the United States establishes an all-Jewish district in Alaska for the scant survivors. A resilient people, these “Sitka” Jews bounce back and forge a strange new culture. Chabon’s mystery begins when the killing of a chess virtuoso threatens the Sitka district with an international crisis—and maybe even the apocalypse. Stylish and bold, the novel continues Chabon’s journey into the furthest depths of his genre-bending imagination.