Variety reports that the next movie from the Coen brothers will be an adaptation of Michael Chabon’s The Yiddish Policemen’s Union. Now, you probably wouldn’t know it from the amount that I’ve written, but I like books and I like movies. I saw No Country For Old Men for the third time last night, because it’s just that awesome. I read The Yiddish Policemen’s Union in December.
I guess that The Yiddish Policemen’s Union is not that obscure a book, but I get trapped in my judgement of such things because, outside of my family, I don’t really know anyone who reads. I’m interested in seeing how it gets translated into a movie because the book is really written in an entirely different world. In theory, every one of the characters is speaking Yiddish, unless they swear, in which case they’re speaking “American”. Obviously that’s an easier concept to get across in a book than on screen.
The idea of the novel is that, after World War II, the Jewish people were given a settlement in Alaska, and the lease is about to run out. There is no Israel, and if there is, it’s one that’s somehow more dangerous than the one of today. Stranger still is the way Chabon has written it: in third person as if it were the first. It took me quite a few pages to get into it.
Still, the story is sound, and it would be amazing if they could bring Sitka to life as it is in the book. Really, this has all of the makings of a great detective story – with cows! – and I look forward to it, despite there being an intervening movie for the Coen brothers.
Post Script: It will be interesting also to see if there will be an attendant controversy as there was in the book: Jewish organised crime? That’s Anti-Semitic, Jewish Author Michael Chabon! You hate your own kind! How dare you write villainous Jews into a book populated entirely by Jewish characters! Oh.