The Final Solution

The Final Solution

A Story of Detection

Book - 2004
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In the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, prose magician Michael Chabon conjured up the golden age of comic books -- intertwining history, legend, and storytelling verve. In The Final Solution, he has condensed his boundless vision to craft a short, suspenseful tale of compassion and wit that reimagines the classic nineteenth-century detective story.

In deep retirement in the English country-side, an eighty-nine-year-old man, vaguely recollected by locals as a once-famous detective, is more concerned with his beekeeping than with his fellow man. Into his life wanders Linus Steinman, nine years old and mute, who has escaped from Nazi Germany with his sole companion: an African gray parrot. What is the meaning of the mysterious strings of German numbers the bird spews out -- a top-secret SS code? The keys to a series of Swiss bank accounts perhaps? Or something more sinister? Is the solution to this last case -- the real explanation of the mysterious boy and his parrot -- beyond even the reach of the once-famed sleuth?

Subtle revelations lead the reader to a wrenching resolution. This brilliant homage, which won the 2004 Aga Khan Prize for fiction, is the work of a master storyteller at the height of his powers.

Publisher: New York : Fourth Estate, c2004
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780060763404
006076340X
Branch Call Number: FICTION CHABON
Characteristics: 131 p. : ill. ; 22 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

A mute boy with a talking parrot reveals a mystery that a retired and oddly familiar detective cannot resist.

As fans of the great detective know, after retirement Holmes moved from London to Sussex, where he spent his days keeping bees. Chabon's story takes place during WWII, when Holmes is 89 and intent on bee-keeping only-until a mysterious boy wanders into town. The boy is remarkable for two reasons:... Read More »

Set in the English countryside during World War II, this imaginative story follows an elderly (and possibly familiar) detective on what will become his final--and most profound--case.

Set in the English countryside during World War II, this astounding new work of imagination from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" follows an elderly detective on what will become his final--and most profound--case.


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h
haileyj
Jan 10, 2016

This was an OK read for a rainy day. Not sure how the boy came to be living in England and on his own, but assume it's because someone rescued him from the atrocities of the Nazis' death trains.

r
rationallady
May 10, 2015

Worth reading if you are a Chabon fan. I especially liked the chapter from the parrot's point of view.

m
maipenrai
Oct 01, 2013

*** stars This novel is a detective story that in many ways pays homage to the writings of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The story, set in 1944, revolves around an unnamed 89-year-old long-retired detective (who may or may not be Sherlock Holmes but is always called just "the old man"), now interested mostly in beekeeping, and his quest to find a missing parrot, the only friend of a mute Jewish boy. The title of the novella references Doyle's Sherlock Holmes story "The Final Problem," in which Holmes confronts his greatest enemy, Professor Moriarty, at Reichenbach Falls, and the Final Solution, the Nazis' plan for the genocide of the Jewish people. The story opens with the chance encounter between the old man and a mute young boy, Linus Steinman, who is a German-Jewish refugee staying with a local Anglican priest and his family. The boy's constant companion, a parrot, is in the habit of rattling off German numbers in no obvious order. After we are introduced to the priest, his wife, son and two lodgers, we find out that the numbers may have some significance. One lodger speculates that the numbers are a military code of some kind and seeks to crack it. The other lodger, a Mr. Shane, from the British foreign office, pretends at dinner not to even notice the bird. After Mr. Shane is found murdered the next morning and the parrot Bruno has gone missing, the local inspector, Michael Bellows, recruits the old man to help solve the mystery. Mr. Chabon always has a unique voice - loved his " The Yiddish Policeman's Union "!! Recommend

babyunicorn26 Jun 13, 2013

Great short novel full of meaning and fast moving plot!

j
jkeeg
May 28, 2013

I really enjoyed this, but I felt like the story got concluded a little too quickly. It was fun to see Sherlock Holmes as an old man though!

c
corinnem81
Jan 24, 2013

A wonderful story that is subtle and beautifully written. Highly recommended for ages 10 to adult.

h
HerNoseInABookGal
Oct 13, 2012

This is a lovely, heartfelt, well-written quick read. Unique, quirky and delightfully fun.

p
Palomino
Aug 12, 2012

Did I just read poetry? I don't get it. The Boy is a jerk, but Bruno loves him anyways... is that it? Old Sherlock Holmes is kinda dumb? If there wasn't a war on, they coulda just asked and then I wouldn't have needed to read this book?

theoddmouse Mar 20, 2012

Good little story. Would have been better had Michael Chabon paid a little more attention to the flow of the plot and a little less time finding obscure synonyms for every other word in the book.

k
kalio
Feb 05, 2010

What do an eighty-nine-year-old detective-turned-beekeeper and a nine-year old Jewish boy from Nazi Germany have in common? A mystery, of course. The boy is young Linus Steinman, a refugee whose sole beloved possession is a gray African parrot named Bruno who speaks, sings, and quotes strings of numbers?all in German. When Bruno is stolen and a man is murdered, the beekeeping old man is moved to assist the local constabulary?but only because he wants to restore the bird to the boy. If he happens to solve the murder along the way, so be it. A cast of quirky characters and suspects dot the English countryside, and author Michael Chabon?Pulitzer Prize winner for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay?is spot-on in terms of style and tone in this slim but smart volume that pays homage to the literary tradition of detection that began so long ago with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes. The legendary investigator is never mentioned, but the hints that surround the long-legged, gaunt-faced ?old man? range from tweed to pipes to magnifying glasses. There?s little doubt that this is no less than the great and dignified Holmes?worn and stretched by the years but no less sharp?who?s on the case. The murder becomes a matter of national security, with spies and secret codes abounding in the wake of World War II. Sophisticated and fun, The Final Solution is genuine Holmes.

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babyunicorn26 Jun 13, 2013

For the first time in a very many years, he felt the old vexation, the mingled impatience and pleasure at the world's beautiful refusal to yield up its mysteries without a fight.

theoddmouse Mar 20, 2012

"Sieben acht vier vier fünf."

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babyunicorn26 Jun 13, 2013

Fast moving novella about about the retired Great Detective's final case.

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