There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
Other than being way too long, this was a pretty good book! I really like the ending and felt a great affection for the characters by then. The writing was terrific. Chabon's is great at characterization. His use of imagery is fantastic, as evidenced by this passage about Rosa's letters to Joe after he left her.
"(Joe)... took out the thick sheaf of letters that he had received from Rosa after his enlistment at the end of 1941. The letters had followed him, irregularly but steadily, from basic training at Newport, Rhode Island, to the navy's polar training station at Thule, Greenland, to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he had spent the fall of 1943 as the Kelvinator mission was assembled. After that, as no reply from their addressee was ever forthcoming, there had been no more letters. Her correspondence had been like the pumping of a heart into a severed artery, wild and incessant at first, then slowing with a kind of muscular reluctance to a stream that became a trickle and finally ceased; the heart had stopped."
The history of comic books in America was interesting, and I liked the way he connected a variety of themes to that history. Mostly, these themes centered on the idea of ESCAPE. For example, Chabon showed Sammy and Joe working tirelessly for the Jews' escape from Hitler's bondage in their "The Escapist" comic books, Sammy finding himself and beginning to escape the bonds of America's prejudices toward gays, and Joe escaping from his "survivor guilt" after his immigration to America as well as working for his little brother's escape from Prague, and also Joe's escape from Rosa after what happens to Tommy.
Chabon showed a caustic sense of humor, too. For example when the name of the bedroom assigned to the gay lovers is revealed as "Ramcock." There were lots more examples, and I chuckled out loud quite a few times.
I felt so touched by the close bonds between the main characters at the end and they way they dealt with the way their lives had unfolded. I just wish Chabon had left out the whole episode of Joe enlisting in the Navy and traveling to Antarctica. That was over the top and way too drawn out. Other episodes could have been edited out or cut down as well, and then the book would have made a bigger impact. (You're probably thinking the same thing about this review, if you got this far :)
I am a New York musician, a New York native, and a passionate reader of fiction. Audible is helping me fill in some serious literary gaps.
I am new to audiobooks and am reveling in their power. I'd picked up "Kavalier and Clay" several years ago and gotten bogged down by the sheer size of the volume--a real doorstop of a novel. But I'd always wanted to read it, and am grateful for this superb audio version. In that sense: yes, the audiobook was better for me than the print book.
The historical sweep, the sense of what World War II meant to Americans and Europeans on a personal, experiential level, the complexity and reality of the characters, and (as always with Chabon) the delicacy, respect, and sensuality with which he treats gay characters. I'm not sure where this straight author's fascination with homosexuality comes from, but he is one of the greatest of our "gay" writers. He dramatizes the struggles of Jewish people and the struggles of gay people with an almost uncanny empathy.
David Colacci nailed everyone, but his portrayal of Joe Kavalier took my breath away.
"K & C" has the sweep and depth of a classic nineteenth-century novel--a book of great intelligence, imagination, and depth.
So glad to find this unabridged version of Kavalier and Clay. I read the novel several years ago and loved it then. The narration is excellent.
English major. Love to read
Somehow I wasn't paying attention when people were reading this book and raving about it. Now that I have read it, many of my literary friends are looking at me and saying -- "of course I have read it, it's fabulous!" My silly response is "why didn't you tell me?" I think this all points to the fact that I truly love reading a book that takes me somewhere else. whose words I relish over and over and whose characters I just simply miss at the end of the reading. This is such a story - not to be missed. As a matter of fact, just download it now because you won't be disappointed.
I enjoyed this book. It tackled interesting topics (e.g., [spoiler alert] the rise of comic books, being Jewish, and being gay) in a work of historical fiction taking place mostly in New York City and mostly during the 1940s and 50s in an appealing way. I liked the characters, the writing, and the narration.
That said, it didn't strike me as being on par with the other Pulitzer Prize winning fiction I've read. I'm deducting one star from my rating for that.
But I'd still recommend it as an enjoyable read.
I like books that have interesting characters and easy to follow plots. For example, Cormoran Strike, is a great character for me.
I was very disappointed in this book. It received such rave reviews. It started out very strongly with the first 1/4 but then it fizzled. The book should have been a novella. The beginnings of the comic book industry and how comic book stories are conceived was really interesting and exciting. But then the story began to sway from sub story to sub story with no apparent reason. Why was it important to spend so much time on Joe's time in Antarctica and why was there such an emphasis on the dog relationship. It seemed to me that Chabon had made up a story board like they do in comic books and tried to fit them all in to the book. Some parts of the book seemed like it was trying to be a True Romance comic. My overall feeling is that the author was trying to hard to write a really powerful book but just didn't have the story upon which to hang it. I couldn't wait for it to be over.
The homosexual tension mounts until he meets the one. The story of two boys finding themselves together in the big city during WWII. It felt like the author should had even more gay love scenes. One star because a few parts of the book were not LGBT oriented. More PRIDE!
I loved this book. I was enthralled until the last word. I had never read Michael Chabon before but I think I will most likely be reading more of his work. He is a beautiful writer and his use of framing dialogue around the inner monologue of his characters, Rich with detail, foreshadowing and understandable emotion is done with incredible aplomb. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves good a good story and good writing.
The voice acting was the best I've heard in over a year of listening to Audible.
The novel itself is complicated and surprising. It was at times heartbreaking, suspenseful, hilarious, and whimsical. Just so well done.