I’ve deemed this summer one in which I will reread several books, and one of those book is in fact Michael Chabon’s The Final Solution. I originally read this novelette sometime in early 2006 and subsequently wrote a scathing review (found here). During the past seven years, I’ve remembered the book negatively and would not recommend it to others. This hurt my heart because I tout Michael Chabon as one of America’s greatest living authors and hated to say anything disparaging about him.
I am a fool.
As I reread this book, I am embarrassed, ashamed, and, perhaps most importantly, humbled.
You see, though I’m only half finished with the slender book, I’ve already come to a startling realization about the book’s protagonist, one I never before realized and one that is incredibly significant. How I didn’t make this deduction seven years ago is beyond me, especially considering I deal with literature and writing regularly in my professional life. Were I a prouder man, I wouldn’t even reveal this to you.
But wait, let’s see if you can figure it out: the story takes place in 1944 England and features a very old, retired detective. This detective was once the toast of England, renowned for his brilliance and adventures. He smokes a pipe, wears an Inverness, and uses a magnifying glass. Have you solved it? Yes! Though only referred to as “the old man” throughout the novelette, he is clearly supposed to be Sherlock Holmes!
I have no idea why I didn’t consider this out upon my first reading, but the book is so much more enjoyable if making this assumption. So, though I’m not quite done with my rereading, I assure you, it’s thus far a wildly entertaining read if you keep “the old man’s” true identity in mind!