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Vol. 47, No. 4


December 2017





Institute of European and American Studies, Academia Sinica

The Unlikely Blessings of Living on

Borrowed Time in a Leased Land

Michael Chabon’s

The Yiddish

Policemen’s Union

Shuli Chang

Department of Foreign Languages and Literature

National Cheng Kung University

No. 1, University Rd., Tainan 70101, Taiwan



The culture of violence committed in the name of faith,

a malady which plagues our world today, is the subject matter

of Michael Chabon’s 2007 speculative fiction,

The Yiddish

Policemen’s Union

, which is based on the historical premise

that Israel, in losing the Arab-Israeli War in 1948, was

destroyed, and millions of Jewish refugees given temporary

shelter in Alaska, on a 60-year lease with the United States of

America. The novel opens in 2007, when the Reversion is to

take effect, and Diasporic Jews once again face homelessness.

Against this counterfactual background of collective anxiety,

Chabon has his detective-protagonist follow a murder case

only to unravel a conspiracy to “basically force [the] Messiah

Received May 25, 2017; accepted September 27, 2017; last revised October 13,


Proofreaders: Alex C. Chang, Yan-jun Guo, Tsai-Ying Lu