The Unlikely Blessings of Living on Borrowed Time in a Leased Land 403
ideology or identification? If so, how?
These are the questions raised by Chabon’s novel. Along this
line of inquiry, in Section One, I analyze the two options available
to Diasporic Jews outlined in Chabon’s novel
so as to bring to the fore Chabon’s critique of the
Diaspora Jews’ turn towards statist form of identification. Given
that the Diasporic Jews’ embrace of statism finds articulation in a
Messianic narrative of redemption, I read this narrative of
redemption, in Section Two, as a symptom that demands to be re-
read to open alternative possibilities. In the final section, I return to
flesh out the correlation between Chabon’s embrace of the non-
statist form of homecoming with the blessing of more life that Eric
Santner has developed in his engaged reading of Sigmund Freud’s
psychoanalysis and Franz Rosenweig’s theology.
I. Death of a Messiah
Fear presides over these memories,
The Plot Against America
With a counterfactual premise as its historical background,
Yiddish Policemen’s Union
draws on the conventions of the detective
novel and gives readers a world-weary, cynical, tough-guy detective,
Meyer Landsman, whose cynicism is reminiscent of Dashiell
Hammett’s Sam Spade and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe.
and embodied, that binds the individual to the other in a relationship that
approximates “love.” See Derrida (1979).
Henceforth all page references to novels under discussion will be given
parenthetically in the body of the text.
Avid readers of detective novels surely know that Dashiell Hammett and Raymond
Chandler are two master writers of the genre, and they have populated their
detective novels with the presence of their charismatic protagonists, veteran
detectives Sam Spade and Philip Marlowe.