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)
I would. Michael Chabon's writing is highly descriptive, evocative and complex with long sentences demanding a fair amount of grammatical agility on the part of the reader. This is why the audio edition is so good. Narration enables the reader to understand the tapestry of words without the effort involved in the reading process. Since this is a fairly long novel, with multiple character structures and a diverse plot, audio is a superb method of appreciating this piece of fiction.
With that, I would recommend alongside the audio, a text version, say in kindle or ebook format so as to enable the reader to refer back when he/she wishes and to read sections when audio is neither available or appropriate.
Creative original story, with strains of Jewish American culture presented in a very unique form compared to trends in the genre.
It was very good however, I was not always happy about accents - but this is minor. It was professional and engaging.
It would have to be Sammy. While Joe is mysterious, we know him from the book. Sammy evokes empathy and a need to understand. Something is still left unsolved and poignant with this character, which is in fact one of the wonderful features of the book and its final chapters.
I have read comments by readers regarding Chabon, may of whom have difficulty getting past the first chapters of his books; others who can't find the plot for the words. Michael Chabon is a huge persona on the stage of modern novelists. He is a master of words and verbal tapestry. Audiobooks are actually the finest method of fully appreciating his work.
Not likely-- I tend not to reread books, even excellent ones like this.
Chabon's writing is often picaresque and wildly imaginative and original, while at the same time being thoughtful, timely, and moving. It reminds me of other prolific and inventive stylists like Melville (in "Moby Dick"), Rabelais, Dickens, and Shakespeare, though not exactly like any of them.
Sammy-- because his story was so poignant and because, in his ability to dream up new fictions, he seemed a bit like Chabon's own alter ego.
I wouldn't-- the title is perfect.
I've read and enjoyed a number of Chabon's other works, but this one especially puts him in the first rank of novelists working in America today. The writing is so inventive and rich, so original and entertaining, that I was constantly amazed by the novel's style, even as I appreciated its plot, characters, and relevance to American history.
The narrator did an excellent job of using different accents and voices to differentiate the characters. The accents were believable, as were the voices, whether they be the hardened Czech man who returns from war, to the young 12 year old boy, to his sweet mother.
Slight silly, mostly mellow, little lady.
Definitely the descriptions of the comic books. Chabon's writing was so descriptive that I had no problem completely seeing the comic book panels/stories and characters he described. It was great!
He is a top-notch narrator! I was very impressed with his voice work and I loved how identifiable each character was. He gave the entire book the perfect rhythm.
I highly recommend this to anyone with an interest in WWII, Comic Books, Jewish culture/history, Art, or pretty much anything else. It's just a really good book and I felt great after reading it. It's hard to believe there is a person out there who won't like it. :-)
Our book club picked this out of a hat because no one could decide which of our list was a majority favorite - and we ALL loved it. It's a story about the comic book industry, being different in the 40's, life as a Jewish holocaust survivor (and the guilt) and it's just the perfect storm of great characters, great writing, angst, and hope with the best fun surprises thrown in. I hope my next Chabon book is this great because after this one I'm willing to read more of his work!
The people, the setting, the time, the comic books were all engaging characters in this story. All complemented and enhanced each other. I have no particular interest in comic books, but loved the book anyhow.
The forgiveness, love and acceptance when Joe finally came home.
I highly recommend this book!
Say something about yourself!
As a Superman fan, I had very high expectations for this novel, and, while it didn't meet them, I enjoyed this novel on its own terms. The characters of Kavalier and Clay are compelling, and the fantasy world of the Golden Era of comics is a good framework for drama. The only drawback is Colacci's "voices" which distract from the story - Clay's New York accent, and Kavalier's Czech accent are ridiculous and laughable.
The voice actor doing this book is phenomenal, especially his Brooklyn-Jewish accent. Very authentic and conversational, and reads at the perfect pace: fast enough to hold your attention, but slow enough that you can listen to it during a commute and not be thrown off.
Sammy Clay: good guy, can't say much more without giving stuff away.
He is phenomenal. Great performance of 1940s Jewish New York accents, and lively well-paced narration. One of the best readers out there.
This is probably the most enjoyable book I've ever listened to, and I've listened to quite a few.
Michael Chabon's writing is rich, insightful, nimble. This book had everything: great writing, engaging story and characters, historical interest, romance, and adventure. David Colacci really brought the characters of Sammy and Joe to life wonderfully. I did not want this book to end.
This is a genuine artistic accomplishment. First and most important, the author captures and brings to life many different characters that are interesting, multidimensional and above all, human.
Second, his langauge is highly constructed and yet you will rarely notice it, and when you do it will still punch you. Its precise, and acutely illuminates the humorous flaws in our natures; those that linger in the shadows of our perception, and can only be fully illustrated by master authors.
This book deserves the highest praise from those who appreciate art that interprets reality, without making it ragged and grotesque, like a battered corpse. You're allowed to taste, smell, and feel, but not forced to choke on it.
Its a story that will help you find a part of your soul that is at once young and old, happy and profoundly sad, bound and free, and once introduced, will leave you to enjoy more of yourself. In short, it evokes a broad emotional range.
I find the narration to be enjoyable and undistracting, the voices well matched to the characters, and the reader's rhythm helps to bring out many of the deminsions of the language that I might miss if I experienced the story in print.
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