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 don't think so.
Yes. He was OK.
Not much of anything.
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.
Yes. This touched on many aspects of the human experience: family, heritage, sharing, adventure.
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.
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.
Yes but it's too long to even attempt!
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.
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.
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.
Maybe, I don't tend to re-read anything.
Just following the characters through life. Being happy for them and sad with them and even disappointed in their decisions.
Sam and Joe were equally enjoyable. I really felt myself rooting for them to succeed.
This book made me laugh and cry.
A great book and a great narration. It was long so it lasted awhile but not boring. The information about the comic books was interesting too. I was hesitant to download because I'm not a comic book fan, but Im so glad I did this book was about so much more. I did have to make sure I was paying attention or else I would get lost and miss transitions.
i like to read. i like to listen.
i had a tough time with this book. michael chabon has an interesting way of writing...complex and well researched and very detailed. but sometimes i think this is too much. sometimes his research is too much. i feel like there's just so much information on a certain subject that i need to read about when i'm in a novel. sometimes i just want the story....not the facts behind it. do you know what i mean?
i loved the characters in this book. i think chabon creates the best, most interesting, likeable characters. they have faults, but they are so real...both Sam and Joe were perfectly written. exactly what and who i wanted them to be. but the book gets so muddled, and i feel like the characters never go anywhere...in their growth as people, in their beliefs, in their relationships. i needed more.
i was talking to another reader, and she quipped that "maybe reading one book by Chabon is great, the next becomes a trial!" -- but i agree with her. i think when i read Telegraph Avenue, i was blown away by the newness of chabon's manner of writing...i was surprised and excited by the facts and histories of every single person and area and theme that he introduced into the story. but moving onto this novel...(i know i went backwards)...i got overloaded by it. too much info, chabon. maybe one is enough. i should have quit while he was ahead!
I loved being in Kavalier & Clay's world. David Colacci's reading captures it perfectly. What a great, great book!
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.
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