Although this is my first book by Michael Chabon, I have a couple of others to read and had heard a lot about him. Although I found this a pleasant read, I have to admit this book was not at all what I expected. I think that I expected somthing a little more cohesive, a little funnier, and full of some great wit and sarcasm. Instead I found a book that started very slowly and veered off course many times. For example, although the book began with the discovery of a murder, the author did not get to the meat of that story until about 200 pages into the book. In addition, that story was hidden among a lot of rambling, and sometimes confusing, discussion about the characters in the book. In my opinion, most of this discussion detracted from the actual story. Once the author actually got to the story of the murder investigation and the conspiracy surrounding it, I began to enjoy the story. It seemed though, that just as I was getting settled in, the authour would ramble off down another side track. In defense of the book, though, the characters were complex and unpredicatable, and the information on Jewish mysticism and culture was interesting. Overall, I felt the author's descriptions were colorful and engaging, and in that respect enjoyed his writing. There were a few gems in the book like when he referred to the Jewish in Alaska as "the Frozen Chosen", or his description of what it was like to sleep in a bed with a two and a four year old, or how a huge person could hurdle a tall fence. All in all, I felt it was an enjoyable read, but it just didn't quite live up to my expectations.