In 1989, fresh from the publication of his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Michael Chabon traveled to his mother's home in Oakland, California, to visit his terminally ill grandfather. Tongue loosened by powerful painkillers, memory stirred by the imminence of death, Chabon's grandfather shared recollections and told stories the younger man had never heard before, uncovering bits and pieces of a history long buried and forgotten.
Moonglow unfolds as the deathbed confession, made to his grandson, of a man the narrator refers to only as "my grandfather." It is a tale of madness, of war and adventure, of sex and desire and ordinary love, of existential doubt and model rocketry, of the shining aspirations and demonic underpinnings of American technological accomplishment at mid-century and, above all, of the destructive impact - and the creative power - of the keeping of secrets and the telling of lies. A gripping, poignant, tragicomic, scrupulously researched and wholly imaginary transcript of a life that spanned the dark heart of the twentieth century, Moonglow ranges from the Jewish slums of prewar South Philadelphia to the invasion of Germany, from a Florida retirement village to New York's Wallkill Prison, from the heyday of the space program to the twilight of 'the American Century'. Collapsing an era into a single life and a lifetime into a single week, Moonglow is a lie that tells the truth, a work of fictional non-fiction, an autobiography wrapped in a novel disguised as a memoir.
Moonglow is Chabon at his most daring, his most moving, his most Chabonesque.