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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. Inspired by their own fantasies, fears, and dreams, they create the Escapist.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (1050 )
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4.4 (926 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Vivvian Lansky 06-09-14

    uesstudiowithmice

    HELPFUL VOTES
    2
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    "Colacci’s SO Much Better in Abridged Version!"

    For years I listened to the Abridged version, blissfully unaware that it was abridged. It has been so much my favorite that I have listened to it easily hundreds of times, delighting in David Colacci’s masterful pacing, accents, and just overall verve—a perfect match for the story and characters.

    Then, the other day, I heard a reading on Selected Shorts from the book that I could not place. THIS is from my favorite book? I thought. I went to look it up and, sure enough, I was listening to the abridged version! How thrilled I was to realize there were 16 more hours of magnificent story out there! So excited!

    Well, color me bummed out. All of my favorite things about Colacci’s performance the first time around are just ruined. He’s slow, disconnected from the story, and all the accents are really off. The bottom line is, the humor is missing. Scenes that used to be hilarious between Sammy and Joe are now labored. Joe’s accent has gone from eastern European to straight-up Transylvanian and it’s genuinely annoying.

    So disappointed… heartbroken, really. I’ll continuing slogging through the book, but… I mean, I wonder if the publisher would consider a do-over? This recording sounds like they clonked Colacci over the head and dragged him into the recording booth to make the unabridged version with a gun to his head. I love Colacci and on the strength of the Abridged recording have listened to several other books just because he’s the reader. I know he can do better this and a book as wonderful as this one deserves the best!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emrys Alfred, NY, United States 05-29-14
    Emrys Alfred, NY, United States 05-29-14 Member Since 2012
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    "Brilliant!"

    This is a wonderful novel, funny and poignant, imaginative yet grounded in history. One of the best contemporary novels I've ever read. The narration is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Anne Hampden, ME, United States 05-16-14
    Anne Hampden, ME, United States 05-16-14 Member Since 2008
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Worth the TIme"

    Although it took me awhile to get through this, I am glad I stayed with it. There were times I would get lost in one aspect of the story line and forget where it was going and suddenly we were back in NYC. What a whirl wind time in history between 1938 - 1958. I so wanted Sammy to figure out life and be happy.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jamie Olympia, Wa 04-24-14
    Jamie Olympia, Wa 04-24-14 Member Since 2013

    Jamie

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    "Horrible Narration"
    What would have made The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay better?

    decent narration


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    couldn't listen


    How did the narrator detract from the book?

    What a terrible, empty flat, almost mechanical voice. And apparently he thinks germans all sound like Count Dracula.


    If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay?

    ?


    Any additional comments?

    This is my third purchase in two days with a terrible narrator. Up till now I've had great luck Very disappointing.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Emma Edina, Minnesota, United States 03-17-14
    Emma Edina, Minnesota, United States 03-17-14 Member Since 2013
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    40
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    "Good not great"
    Would you listen to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay again? Why?

    I had really high hopes for this book. I know it was supposed to have a comic feel, but I felt like the narrator dragged it out very slowly. He has a great voice, but I think I would have enjoyed this more had I read it. The voices were very well done, just the pacing grated on me.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brustar Beverly Hills, CA, United States 09-04-13
    Brustar Beverly Hills, CA, United States 09-04-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Excellent ... but there's just one thing."

    Chabon creates a story and characters that are so real and so richly fleshed out that you are drawn into their lives and left hanging on his every word. Against an existential backdrop that would be more appropriate to a Gothic novel if it weren't true, his characters are almost Zelig-like in their interaction with historical events.

    Many of my friends who read the book had a difficult time dealing with the sentences that seem to go on as long as the trials and tribulations of the characters. But the audio version makes it not only an easy, but an emotionally compelling, way to spend 26 hours and 20 minutes of your life.

    I couldn't decide whether the narrator was terrific or terrible; and decided that he was a bit of both. On the one hand, it is generally quite enjoyable listening to him and he easily handles the frequently-convoluted prose in a way that mades it simple to follow the story. However, his accents are too often cringe-worthy. Joe Kavalier's Czechoslovakian accent, sounding more like a bad caricature of a Russian cab driver, almost ruined this richly drawn, romantic, character for me. Even worse, what the narrator did to Yiddish is what Hitler did to the Jews of Czechoslovakia. Chutzpah (which I am sure the narrator would have pronounced "joots-puh") can be a good thing, but trying to bluff/wing his way through "bubeleh", "kenehora", et al? Not so good.

    Memo to Audible - your narrators don't have to be fluent in all the languages appearing in a book, but they do have to have the common sense to ask for help when they encounter unfamiliar words.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Steven Calgary, Alberta, Canada 06-08-13
    Steven Calgary, Alberta, Canada 06-08-13 Member Since 2012
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Seemed like a good idea but..."
    Would you try another book from Michael Chabon and/or David Colacci?

    I don't think so.


    Has The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No.


    Would you listen to another book narrated by David Colacci?

    Yes. He was OK.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Not much of anything.


    Any additional comments?

    I grew up reading comics. I found a huge stack of them in the attic of my grandfather's old farm house and devoured them. As boys, my older brother being inspired by heroes in tights, talked me into jumping from our garage roof. I can connect with heroes but this story was about a couple of putzes that left me unconnected and unmoved.

    I really wanted to like it but I actually gritted my teeth and got through the book just out of stubborn determination. I probably learned not to give up on a bad situation from a cartoon character in a ridiculous costume. That's ironic.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chris 06-06-13
    Chris 06-06-13
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    "This is a must read"
    Would you listen to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay again? Why?

    Yes. This touched on many aspects of the human experience: family, heritage, sharing, adventure.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The best scene was the bungee jumping scene. It included the adventure of our hero with his creativity and ability to find new solutions and tricks.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Mechanicsburg, PA, United States 05-29-13
    Elizabeth Mechanicsburg, PA, United States 05-29-13 Member Since 2006
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    "Opinion waffled at times but landed on loving it."
    What did you love best about The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay?

    The part I loved the best is also the part I loved the least. That is, the writing style is full of parenthetical, multi-phrased sentences bulging with allusions that, had David Colacci not been the excellent narrator he is, would have left me confused. At times, I marveled at the unique metaphorical descriptions that so vividly drew a picture. At other times, I either didn't get the reference or it was mentally taxing to listen to. If the listener doesn't have a solid broad grasp of culture, history, and literature, the writing is wasted. Overall, I ended up loving this book but there were times I wasn't sure.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes but it's too long to even attempt!


    Any additional comments?

    It is hard to categorize this book and is not something I normally would have purchased. I listened to everything else in my library before this one but the intelligent writing, characters and ultimately the story won me over.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kathleen Brooksville, ME, United States 05-13-13
    Kathleen Brooksville, ME, United States 05-13-13 Member Since 2010
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Good fun!"
    If you could sum up The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay in three words, what would they be?

    Fun.Curious. Engrossing


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay?

    When Joe Kavalier escapes to the states- the description of his journey with twists and turns and improbable luck (both bad and good) is absorbing.
    It's also true, the first conversation between Sammy and Joe as they walk along the street discussing potential characters is really fun.


    Who was the most memorable character of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay and why?

    Joe Kavalier is memorable because he works with what he has- the challenge of getting his family out of Europe, the challenge of making a life in the US, the desire to fight the Nazi regime even when those around him are not ready. A remarkable artist who made a difference.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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