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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay | [Michael Chabon]

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

It's 1939, in New York City. Joe Kavalier, a young artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdiniesque escape, has just pulled off his greatest feat: smuggling himself out of Hitler's Prague. He's looking to make big money, fast, so that he can bring his family to freedom. His cousin, Brooklyn's own Sammy Clay, is looking for a partner in creating the heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit the American dreamscape: the comic book.
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Publisher's Summary

It's 1939, in New York City. Joe Kavalier, a young artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdiniesque escape, has just pulled off his greatest feat: smuggling himself out of Hitler's Prague. He's looking to make big money, fast, so that he can bring his family to freedom. His cousin, Brooklyn's own Sammy Clay, is looking for a partner in creating the heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit the American dreamscape: the comic book.

Inspired by their own fantasies, fears, and dreams, Kavalier and Clay create the Escapist, the Monitor, and the otherworldy Mistress of the Night, Luna Moth, inspired by the beautiful Rosa Saks, who will become linked by powerful ties to both men. The golden age of comic books has begun, even as the shadow of Hitler falls across Europe.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a stunning novel of endless comic invention and unforgettable characters, written in the exhilarating prose that has led critics to compare Michael Chabon to Cheever and Nabokov. In Joe Kavalier, Chabon, writing "like a magical spider, effortlessly spinning out elaborate webs of words that ensnare the reader" (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times), has created a hero for the century.

©2000 Michael Chabon (P)2000 Brilliance Audio

What the Critics Say

"Virtuoso Chabon takes intense delight in the practice of his art, and never has his joy been more palpable than in this funny and profound tale of exile, love, and magic." (Booklist)

"This thoughtful and entertaining work is so well presented by Colacci - even down to the Yiddish accents - that his performance is a truly memorable experience." (AudioFile)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.8 (520 )
5 star
 (166)
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Overall
3.9 (180 )
5 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Story
4.1 (179 )
5 star
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4 star
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3 star
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2 star
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1 star
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Performance
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  •  
    Charles Brown Deer, WI, United States 01-09-09
    Charles Brown Deer, WI, United States 01-09-09 Member Since 2005

    I make my living as a truck driver. I fill the space between deliveries with audio books.

    HELPFUL VOTES
    115
    ratings
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    "Great book, lousy abridgment"

    This is the worst abridgment I've ever heard, and an excellent example of why I usually steer clear of them. It's only a slim exaggeration to say that it seems as if the editor who chopped this book down did it without reading the text. In one sequence, we go from our hero standing by himself to "...stepping away from her..." with no indication of when the "her" walked onto the scene. These sorts of jarring omissions occur every 15 minutes.
    Equally frustrating are the times when the book refers back to events that were chopped out. Chabon's writing is so good that you feel genuinely ripped off by the omissions.
    From now on I won't buy abridged titles unless they are approved by the author.

    17 of 17 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lakeside Listener Clear Lake, CA USA 09-05-08
    Lakeside Listener Clear Lake, CA USA 09-05-08 Listener Since 2001
    HELPFUL VOTES
    16
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    "Abridgment didn't work"

    Michael Chabon's writing has an elegant flow that grabs you and carries you into whatever universe he has created. This abridgment interfered with that flow and simply threw out much of what makes Chabon's writing so distinctive. It's a shame, really, because the book was a very good read a few years ago, while I could still see well enough to read. Wish I could say the same about this abridged audiobook version.

    16 of 16 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tom Mission Viejo, CA, USA 11-03-08
    Tom Mission Viejo, CA, USA 11-03-08 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
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    3
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    "I was hoping for much more!"

    The subject matter of this book intrigued me, so I bought it. This abridged version was awful. It totally lacked flow. The random jumping around from situation to situation and from one time period to another and from one location to another without any bridging narrative left me totally bewildered and disappointed.
    The author does have artistic talent and paints wonderful word descriptions of just about everything.
    I think that if I had the opportunity to listen to an unabridged version, my rating would be considerably higher.

    10 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MARCIA Lake Forest, CA, United States 01-30-09
    MARCIA Lake Forest, CA, United States 01-30-09 Member Since 2000
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    34
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    "Wonderful story, unfortunate abridgement"

    I thoroughly enjoyed the story and became very fond of the characters, but as others have written, the abridged version is not well done and several times I was startled by the sudden jump in the story. Because I knew this was an abridged version, I understood my need to fill in the gaps, but why offer an abridged version in the first place? I would have preferred the entire book. Having said all that, I would recommend it.

    7 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheldon Encinitas, CA, United States 02-19-12
    Sheldon Encinitas, CA, United States 02-19-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Please give us an Unabridged version"

    Why abridged? Left gaps and joyful passages out of the experience. Minimum words in review.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sheldon brown 02-19-12 Member Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Please give us an Unabridged version"

    Why abridged? Left gaps and joyful passages out of the experience. Minimum words in review.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Michael Pimlico, QLD, Australia 03-27-09
    Michael Pimlico, QLD, Australia 03-27-09 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
    7
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    "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay"

    I would recommend you buy the book and read it rather than the abridged audiobook version. David Colacci however does a fantastic job - one can only hope that an unabridged version appears.

    7 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Megan 08-19-08
    Megan 08-19-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Witty, fun and thought provoking."

    I loved this audiobook. The book is witty, insightful and touching and the reading is really well done.

    I found it very entertaining and humourous while at the same time it kept me really thinking about the ideas about hope and escapism it brought up.

    The storyline teeters on the brink of fantasy, but is set firmly in the "real world" - and I love that combination of suspension of disbelief with well developed, believable and touching characters. At the end you suddenly realise that you may have thought you were listening to an effortless, entertaining story of humourous adventures and events, but it turns out it was also a beautiful serious portrayal of friendship, love, and the hope offered by escapism.

    I'm definitely looking for another Michael Chabon to listen to or read, but meanwhile I'm going to listen to this one again.

    4 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noah Kansas City, MO, United States 06-28-11
    Noah Kansas City, MO, United States 06-28-11
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    "Abridged, do not buy."

    It was my fault. I didn't read that it was abridged. You don't buy a book like this for an abridged version, you save that stuff for books like the DaVinci code.

    I'm one of those people who won't even listen to an abridged version. I wish I never would have purchased this.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Tina Novato, CA, United States 03-15-10
    Tina Novato, CA, United States 03-15-10 Member Since 2004
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Magical, harrowing, wonderful adventures"

    I finally read this book, which has been out for many years and received a fair share of accolades, including a Pulitzer Prize. It is an incredibly entertaining read and a marvelous book.
    Joe Kavalier is a young artist who is taught the art of escape, Houdini-style, by an old magician he befriends in Prague in 1939. Escaping Nazi Europe (he's Jewish) using those skills, he makes it to New York City, where his American cousin, Sammy Clay, makes him a partner to design the art for Sammy's ambitious new comic book. The duo find themselves on top of the world when they create a host of superheroes - the mighty Escapist, the powerful, nocturnal Luna Moth - who fight Hitler and his evil forces and make a great hit with the public. But in spite of their successes, Joe struggles to raise money to bring his family to America, and falls in love with Rosa Saks, and then is drawn to enter the army and go to war, winding up in Antarctica listening for submarines. Sammy's adventures climbing the publishing ladder in New York, and then getting involved with Hollywood when the comics get made into movies, are also vivid and complex because of the underlying issues of his being Jewish, and as he finally realizes, gay.
    Dark and light really mix in this book in complex ways, with the fantastic nature of the men's abilities, talents, ingenuity, adventures, and successes in contrast to some of the horrors they witness and experience (there is a horrifying rape scene, and some gruesome survival tactics in Antarctica). Layered into all of that is the nature of being Jewish in Europe at that time, and being Jewish in America. And comic books, radio, advertising and entertainment of the age are explored with a rather boyish loving fun by Chabon. And there is family, joy, pain, love, loss, stoicism, degradation.
    It's a pretty big book. I figure it won the Pulitzer for all of that --its grand scale, small moments, and layers upon layers. Highly recommended.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
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  • Rebecca Rubens
    Uk
    5/28/13
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Remains unfinished"

    This wasn't my cup of tea. I had the book given to me, recommended by a friend. I found it incredibly difficult to persevere with. This has happened before with 'The Picture of Dorian Grey' and I resolved it with buying audio book (I hate to not finish a book) but even that didn't work for me. As such the book remains incomplete and I have no immediate desire to either. The ONLY book ever that I failed to finish. Perhaps I might, one day....

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Maria Waldron
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Worlds Apart"

    This was a book that I had read before, but I was enchanted by David Colacci's interpretation of this wonderful tale. With his voice only, he is able to paint the most vivid pictures of a world that I previously knew little about. Chabon has created unusal and fascinating characters and Colacci communicated what is a complex narrative with ease and familiarity. I also loved the way there were some historical events that were paralleled in the story, but given a new perspective. It is a wonderfully warm tale that stays with you long after its completion. The five stars I have given this audio clearly indicates that this is a book and a reading that I would highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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