Race and Economic Justice in Michael Chabon’s Telegraph Avenue

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Michael Chabon’s novel Telegraph Avenue (2012) offers a feel-good narrative of interracial male sociability by way of its fictional Brokeland Records store. Yet at the same time, the novel purposefully evokes the dire economic consequences of America’s racialized history in cultural fields as diverse as midcentury urban redevelopment and the American music industry. Ultimately, however, the novel dodges the gnawing fact that its privileged interracial bonhomie avoids the harder truths of American racial and economic history. In gesturing toward but finally not grappling overtly with the devastating economic effects of American racial policy, Telegraph Avenue is symptomatic of a certain strain of American ideology that regularly reduces racism to a problem to be solved simply via diversity rather than through economic justice.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalArizona Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 by Arizona Board of Regents.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Literature and Literary Theory


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