Origins of ‘Gentlemen’ Revealed

A new Chabon interview with The Washington Post sheds some light on the origins of Gentlemen of the Road, which hit stores this week.

The book takes place in the 10th-century empire of Khazaria, a kingdom of Jewish nomads in what’s now southern Russia. Chabon says he picked up the idea around 1982 after discovering Borges.

“I remember wondering if this article or encyclopedia entry or whatever it was might be some kind of elaborate historical hoax,” Chabon says. “A medieval empire at war with the Vikings and Byzantium that lasted for more than four centuries, that was famous all over the world at the time, and everybody was Jewish! What? How come nobody ever told me about them? The Khazars felt like secret knowledge, and secret knowledge is definitely a source of inspiration for me.”

To read the rest of the interview, follow the white rabbit.


  1. PRobinson

    Wow. Thank you. What a fun filled, captivating read.
    Not to mention all the words I didn’t know.
    Please, please write more adventures.

  2. Christian Kaps

    I read “Gentlemen of the Road” last Christmas in about a day (living in Germany I almost missed it) and thoroughly enjoyed it. What great characters! Why not treat us to more adventures of the gentlemen? There’s defintely more potential there.

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