A young writer named Mike Chabon visits his dying grandfather. The grandfather had always been the strong, silent type, but perhaps pain killers and knowing this will be his last chance to tell his story, he relates in vivid detail, his life from the Jewish ghetto in South Philadelphia to Germany in World War II to a retirement village in Florida. This fictional death bed memoir describes a middle class Jewish family, the history of the space program and the undying love one man has for a mentally unstable woman.
Moonglow is clever, interesting, complex and in many ways historically accurate. Mike’s grandfather is a well-drawn character who the reader will admire and empathize with. However, Moonglow contains a drawback for some: this is not a chronologically linear novel. Like an eldery person’s mind, Chabon meanders from era to era, and at times, it takes the reader a few paragraphs to realize he has moved on to another decade.