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The Unlikely Blessings of Living on Borrowed Time in a Leased Land 427

and remains. It is this “something more” that allows him to free

himself from the narrative of Jewish exceptionalism and opens him

up to different narrative possibilities

difficult and impossible

that exceed any claim of communitarian politics and transcend any

identity politics that is driven by the acting out of trauma. Rather,


The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

, Chabon forces the reader to ask

the difficult and impossible question about how to live with the

trauma of the present

a present marked by diaspora, dispossession,

and statelessness

and reflect on what psycho-ethical conditions

would be necessary to work through a traumatic past so as to open

up the “more” of the present.

V. Conclusion

But there is no doubt that what broke

the marriage was Landsman’s lack of

faith. A faith not in God, nor in Bina

and her character, but in the

fundamental precept that everything

befalling them from the moment they

met, good and bad, was meant to be.

The foolish coyote faith that could

keep you flying as long as you kept

kidding yourself that you could fly.


The Yiddish Policemen’s Union

(2007: 393)


The Plot Against America

opens with a thought-

provoking counterfactual scenario

fascism can take roots in


but by framing it as a


novel and by

returning, by the end of the novel, the counterfactual time line of a

“what could have happened” to the factual time line of “what

actually happened,” it concludes with an easy Hollywood ending to

disavow an aggressive interrogation of and confrontation with the

specter of racism out of whose exclusion the myth of American