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 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.
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.
What a terrible, empty flat, almost mechanical voice. And apparently he thinks germans all sound like Count Dracula.
This is my third purchase in two days with a terrible narrator. Up till now I've had great luck Very disappointing.
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.
This is a beautifully written novel with very human characters who are brilliantly brought to life in this audio production. The heading for my review, 'masterpiece,' says it all though. Having listened to well over 200 audio titles, this is one of my top five.
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.
No, never if written by Michael Chabon.
Too much detail about the sex life of Kavalier (hetero) and Clay (homo) ruined for me what otherwise had the potential to be a great story.
Colacci could have used better voices. Some of the accents were thick and the reading was stiff, and I disliked the voices he used for the women and a gay character, Tracy Bacon. It didn't seem like what the character should sound like, and was a little insultingly faye.
A lot of things happen that are improbable and almost sadistic towards the characters. A long line of improbably awful things happen without much to counterbalance it, and it becomes a chore to read. Additionally, as a comics fan I just sat there and felt annoyed because the characters were being lauded for being the "first" people to do things with comics that Jack Kirby and Will Eisner did, and it felt like bad forties fanfiction.
Additionally, this might have been meant to be a reflection of the writing of the time, but female characters were distressingly hard to come by. The only two prominent women are one character's mother and another's girlfriend, with unnecessary sexual details given about both. They barely existed outside of their attachments to the men in their lives, and never spoke to other women.
Possibly. His narration is a bit dry, and I wasn't crazy about the way he did some of the voices, but I wouldn't forgo an audiobook just because he was narrating.
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.
"Entertaining and deeply moving"
I love this book for the wonderful characters, richly-textured plot and the themes that develop in surprising ways throughout the book. The first time I read it I missed it terribly when it was over and became very cranky because I couldn't stand not having it in my life. I re-read it after 3 weeks. Since then, I've re-read parts of it numberless times and enjoy reading certain sections aloud to my friends. The audiobook is terrific. The variety of characters all sound authentic and it is in every way an experience that lives up to the quality of writing.
"beautiful, bombastic and brilliantly researched
I read this first 10 years ago and what a treat to come back to it now. chabon is masterful in his ability to draw in themes from comic books; absurd scenarios, incredible settings, and marry then to a realism of human emotions. somehow he gets away with it without the plot feeling absurd.
good narration throughout, I especially like Joe's voice. really well characterised.
overall a beautiful place of work. one of my favourite books, well told. q
Yes, its a long story with many parts. Worth a second visit.
The journey into the early years of the comic industry and the two main characters were strong.
Can't say. Spoiler.
"Great story - both moving and funny"
I didn't like the look of the title and it was only through reading reviews that I gave it a go. Really glad I did. It is a super story, unusual, moving and funny. I like longer books and especially those that don't repeat themselves but keep the pace flowing - this is one of those. Interesting the unabridged is cheaper than the shorter abridged! Give it a go i'm sure you won't be disappointed.
"I miss them"
Finding a life affirming story from the holocaust Chabon gives us characters to love and admire. The end of the book leaves you missing them and wanting to know what happens next. Not bad for a book this long. It keeps you hooked. Sometimes laughing out loud sometimes deeply sorrowful.
"Sorry it ended"
Fantastic, at least as good as reading the book, which I've also done. Definitely one to be regularly re listened to.
"A book that rewards the more you listen"
The story grew on me , the pace gentle though the plot and the characters went through the mill. I enjoyed the narration and became very fond of the principals. Just finished and sad to have done so but very satisfying.
The story flowed well. It was interesting hearing about their lives.
Not heard any other books but would look out for them now
Made me laugh at times
His is a story of how two young men develop during the 1930's and after. It was interesting hearing about life before the war and how events changed them.
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