I’m reading Michael Chabon‘s “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union.” The basic plot is about a murder that’s been committed in Sitka, the Jewish area of Alaska, and follows the Jewish police who are trying to solve the murder. I’m only 9 chapters in, so you’ll have to forgive me if there’s more to the plot than that.
Chabon is such a convincing writer that I wondered why I had never heard of there being an historically Jewish settlement in Alaska. A little online research revealed that such a settlement had been proposed for Sitka, Alaska, during Franklin Roosevelt’s administration, but was never implemented. (Scroll down to the Modern times section on this page from Wikipedia.)
Chabon’s fiction has been referred to as ‘speculative fiction.’ As this is the first book of his that I’ve read and I have no point of comparison, I’m going to venture that he has earned this classification by creating fiction that isn’t like most of what’s out there. However, in the grandest of all possible worlds, shouldn’t all fiction be speculative? Isn’t it already, even if it’s not particularly good fiction? You see, at the base of speculation is curiosity, the companion to which is the question “What if?”
What if I put this character in this situation and it all goes wrong? What if I put that character in this setting and everything unexpectedly goes right?
Writing fiction – it’s all speculative.
Btw, the Coen Brothers, who I’m proud to claim are from Minnesota, are planning to make a film adaptation of The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. How cool is that?