This book was started…. um…. April of 2007. Oops.
The second half of it breezed by. Back when i got it, i kept nodding off after a few pages, which isn’t a good sign for something purporting to be high adventure. However, i got the same effect from reading Perez-Reverte awhile back, and lots of people find him to be fun. Even when i was bored with Gentlemen of the Road, it made me happy that Chabon continues to play with genre exercises.
Last weekend, my aunt came up for Easter, meaning that i wound up on another genealogy jag. Nope. I’m not Jewish. However, i did find that the same tenuous connection that the media keeps reporting that Barbara Bush is related to British royalty is one that i can make too. Has her family ever openly boasted about that connection? If they have, those arrogant assholes need to be flogged, as most Americans can claim that very same connection. I don’t feel like explaining more, but i wound up leaving the ridiculous claims of genealogy alone, and pursuing royal lineages on Wikipedia, which somehow landed me on the Princes of Kiev and the Kievan Rus. Even though Gentlemen of the Road had been a straightforward light read before, i was now caught in the flavor of that period and place.
Pavic’s Dictionary of the Khazars is still unread for me incidentally. Yeah, yeah… i’ll get around to it.
Gentlemen of the Road flowed from that point like the abridged adventures that i read as a kid in the library in Amite. In my head, i was comparing it to a watered version of Ivanhoe that i read back then, and looking that up, the irony of a Jewish Ivanhoe is even funnier. Stevenson came later, the actual books, but i remember those no more than i understood of Moby-Dick at that time. The more recent comparison though would be Fritz Lieber’s Fafhrd and the Gary Mouser. Now that i’m reading the reviews to see that many people pegged that right away, i’m kicking myself for not noticing that immediately. If it hadn’t been for beginning to tally all of the fantasy and science fiction on Good Reads that i disowned for far too long, i’d never have remembered reading Lieber.
It was a mildly fun read, one that i’ll likely forget in the years to come, much like i forgot reading Chabon’s other genre exercise The Final Solution, but i gladly welcome Chabon’s dalliances with more games like these.