Final SolutionPosted: 2013/01/17
Chabon, Michael. The Final Solution:a Story of Detection. Read by Michael York. New York: Harper Audio, 2004.
In a nutshell: a mute boy of nine or ten years old is discovered walking with a large gray parrot through the English countryside. When it is discovered the parrot speaks German (reciting poetry and rattling off strange numbers) it is determined the boy is Jewish and has escaped Nazi Germany. He is taken in by a vicar and his family and all seems well until another boarder in the vicar’s home is brutally murdered. Is there a connection between the newly arrived boy with the literate parrot and the untimely death of a fellow boarder? A once famous but now virtually unknown and very elderly detective is pulled out of retirement to find out.
While Final Solution is one of the shorter “detective” stories I have read thus far I enjoyed the character development immensely. The very first character you meet is the thinly veiled Sherlock Holmes. Chabon doesn’t come right out and say this is the illustrious character of Conan Doyle, but savvy readers can recognize Holmes in the details. What is surprising is how decrepit Chabon makes the retired detective out to be. True, our mysterious sleuth is 89 years old and more interested in bee keeping (even though he doesn’t like honey), but from description alone I expected him to fall to pieces any second. He really is a walking bag of bones!
Reason read: I read somewhere that January is Adopt a Rescued Bird month. Ironically, the bird in Final Solution does need rescuing at some point!
Author fact: I did some poking around and discovered that while Chabon is really good looking he scoffs at anybody or anything that would recognize him for that since it is not something he earned.
Book trivia: There is a section of Final Solution that takes an odd turn. The story is told from the point of view of the parrot. His musings about chicken are funny.
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Parrots” (p 183). Simple enough.