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March 21st, 2007



Michael Chabon's new novel, The Yiddish Policemen's Union, will be released in May and I, for one, am hoping that it's good.

I really enjoyed Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which is hardly surprising, since a lot of people have. In fact, I liked it to the point that I recommended it to a lot of people in Australia and found a whole heap of cheap copies in a bargain basement book store one year that I bought for Xmas presents. I also want to say that I really enjoyed Wonder Boys and his collection, Werewolves in Their Youth, and I recommend them to people as well.

However, the same could not be said for Chabon's last two books, the Final Solution, and Summerland. Neither have been bad, but they've both been, well, slight. That's kind of impressive when you think about the fact that Summerland is a four or five hundred page book--but the adventures of a boy and his dad into a make believe world to create a baseball team just felt as if Chabon was writing beneath what he was capable of. The Final Solution, a novella featuring an old Sherlock Holmes and a mysterious, silent boy, wasn't much of a mystery--the title gives it away--and the only thing of real interest in the whole book was Chabon's depiction of Holmes. But both have been well below what Chabon is capable of, and there has been a sense, somewhat, of him treading water, which is sometimes what happens to an author after a big book emerges and wins them awards and a generous helping of notice, as Kavalier and Clay did.

However, it has been seven years and Chabon, with the Yiddish Policemen's Union, has to start pulling his literary weight. Lets hope, shall we?

Number One

SYDNEY'S train system is a global laughing stock, with performance levels hopelessly below every major city from Europe to South America, according to a damning independent report buried by CityRail.

Rail experts from Hong Kong were paid by CityRail to compare Sydney with metro systems around the world for efficiency, cost effectiveness, reliability and maintenance.

They found that Sydney lags behind every city on every key indicator – even compared with the rail systems of Santiago in Chile, Bangkok and Moscow.

The results are so embarrassing that, despite having received the report midway through last year, CityRail chief executive Vince Graham still hasn't presented the findings to the RailCorp board or Transport Minister John Watkins.


Link.

It's funny what appears around election time. Anyhow, this should silence all those people who think they have worse train system than Sydney.