BÖCKER | Det var bara en fråga om när. Nu finns Barack Obama även som litterär bifigur i en roman. Senatorn dyker upp i Michael Chabons Telegraph Avenue.
Förra året publicerades ett kort utdrag i tidskriften New York:
“Chabon couldn’t help but include a very on-topic cameo — the future President Obama, in 2004, comforting one of the novel’s central characters, Gwen, in the midst of the toughest of pregnancies (the kind where your husband’s just been caught cheating, you’ve been told you’re worthless as a midwife by an insufferable yuppie doctor, and a musical genius you love has just up and died).”
Just before his hostess for the evening, who held the patent on a gene that coded for a protein to prevent the rejection of a transplanted kidney, directed everyone to gather under the carved and stenciled fir beams of her living room, and sent the young woman from the campaign out to tell the band to knock it off for ten minutes so that the state senator, Obama of Illinois, could address his fellow guests, each of whom had contributed at least one thousand dollars to attend this event, an address in which he would attempt by measured words and a calm demeanor to reassure them (vainly and mistakenly, as it would turn out) that their candidate for the presidency of the United States would not go down to inglorious defeat in November, Obama stopped in the doorway that opened onto the flagstone patio to listen for a minute to the hired band. They were cooking their way with evident seriousness of intent through an instrumental cover of “Higher Ground.”
“Those guys are pretty funky,” he observed, directing his remark to a short, extraordinarily pregnant woman in a man’s bowling shirt who stood beyond the open patio doors, dark, pretty, her hair worn in a fetching artful anemone of baby dreadlocks. The fingers of her right hand flicked shadow-bass notes on her belly. At his remark, the pregnant woman nodded without turning to look at him—there was an elaborate candelabra of a potted cactus behind whose tapered thorns she appeared to be attempting, somewhat punitively, to conceal herself. Obama was running for the United States Senate that summer and had given a wonderful speech last month at the Democratic Convention in Boston. When she did turn to him, her eyes got very wide.
“Friends of yours?” he said.
Förlaget sammanfattar romanens handling så här:
As the summer of 2004 draws to a close, Archy Stallings and Nat Jaffe are still hanging in there—longtime friends, bandmates, and co-regents of Brokeland Records, a kingdom of used vinyl located in the borderlands of Berkeley and Oakland. Their wives, Gwen Shanks and Aviva Roth-Jaffe, are the Berkeley Birth Partners, two semi-legendary midwives who have welcomed more than a thousand newly minted citizens into the dented utopia at whose heart—half tavern, half temple—stands Brokeland.
When ex–NFL quarterback Gibson Goode, the fifth-richest black man in America, announces plans to build his latest Dogpile megastore on a nearby stretch of Telegraph Avenue, Nat and Archy fear it means certain doom for their vulnerable little enterprise. Meanwhile, Aviva and Gwen also find themselves caught up in a battle for their professional existence, one that tests the limits of their friendship. Adding another layer of complication to the couples’ already tangled lives is the surprise appearance of Titus Joyner, the teenage son Archy has never acknowledged and the love of fifteen-year-old Julius Jaffe’s life.