Pulitzer Prize, Fiction, 2001
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 otherworldly 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 has created a hero for the century.
©2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
"Michael Chabon can write like a magical spider, effortlessly spinning out elaborate webs of words that ensnare the reader with their beauty and their style." (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times)
This book about two men who create a well read comic book hero is really about too men who go through unusual and challenging lives. For example, Joe is trained as an escape artist and is able to escape from the persecution of the Jews in a casket holding a statue disguised as a person. These childhood events shape the rest of these men's lives.
While this book is engaging and actually quite moving, it was too heavy for me. This was not the kind of escapism for me as it has too much pain and not enough fun or mystery. Not that this book was full of sorrow, there were some fun moments, like the excitement in creating their first comic book.
I am better off sticking with mystery, thrillers, sci-fi and fantasy. But I recommend this to anyone who likes books that build fascinating if slightly tortured characters. Too much like real life for me.
I had heard of Chabon, but I have a weird antipathy toeards "real" literature, ie. the stuff that gets the prizes; too often it's so far its own behind it's a complete waste of time. It's usually written extremely well, true, and this means it has some pleasures; but literary juries tend to abhor anything resembling a plot or a pay-off, and I ENJOY those!
That said, I have recently come to the conclusion that the Pulitzers may be the exception to the rule, as this novel is a prime example of. Wonderfully written and just a joy to read/listen to, I can't recommend it enough.
Interestingly, I looked into Chabon after listening to this book, and found out that he's fallen out of favor with the literati, since he accuses them of being stuck-up prigs. Thank you!
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.
Don't know what I want to be when I grow up. Trip's cool though. Use Audible to make gym-training sane... And rip my imagination.
This is "The Great American Novel"! Or at least one written after 1960, where like the "Great American Songbook" we seemed to stop adding to the canon. There's everything to like in this setting at a time where nostalgia's just beginning to tumble into history. It's simultaneously sweet, muscular, and poetic. I'm as pleased to know these characters as I was to meet the folks introduced to me by Faulkner, Penn Warren, and Harper Lee... and yet, while Chabon can evoke the power of the Southern masters, he's cast us into Yankee-land of the 30's& 40's. This is a very grown up book that speaks to your inner child.
Simulataneously profound and frivolous... These are Amazing Adventures which I hope Mr. Chabon will someday revisit... Or let me revisit. And David Colacci is an immense talent. This is a wonder-filled tale... And art without wonder is merely craft!
Very well written.
If you like books that are beautifully written, with great stories and don't mind not loving the characters this may be for you...
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