Michael Chabon rightfully won the Pulitzer in 2001 for ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay’. That was a wonderful story and contained crafted, as well clever, writing. Moreover, it had a story that drew in the reader and made the characters (whatever their flaws) understandable, relatable and plausible. In ‘The Yiddish Policemen's Union’, unfortunately, much of the storyline is not quite polished – one gets the feeling that Chabon himself may not have really thought out where Meyer Landsman – the detective policeman who may be an homage to film noire (or not, couldn't quite work it out) – was going either. The lead's supporting characters are even more sketches: the cousin who is conflicted as to his identity (a key theme hitting every character, but Berko more than most – or not), the firey ex-wife who becomes Landsman's boss, the Messiah who doesn't really want to be the Messiah (‘Life of Brian’ anyone-), a cavalcade of archetypes. But here's a feeling that you're missing out on something, and you're not sure what. Perhaps this has to do with Chabon's frequent use of Yiddish expressions that, although might be justified in terms of the cultural milieu Chabon created, leave someone non-conversant in Yiddish and eastern European Hebrew culture thinking – Is that important, did I miss something there- Is there a joke, a clue, a signpost in those words and phrases- Could be. Of course you can, and I did, read the story of Meyer Landsman pretty much as is, and didn't fret too much over my ignorance of Jewish culture and language. And, as far as writing goes, Chabon is very, very good indeed. So good, in fact, that I don't think he needs to write something which almost sneers at the reader ‘I'm good. I'm really good. Let me baffle and bemuse you by showing you how good I am.’ And that's the core of it. I couldn't wait to read ‘Yiddish Policemen's Union’, and one has to agree with ‘The Guardian's’ assessment of Chabon as ‘smart and sassy’. He's smart, he's sassy; the story, not so much.