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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 (1203 )
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4.4 (1064 )
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Performance
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  •  
    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
    HELPFUL VOTES
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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
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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
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-05-13
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    "Great book! Great listen!"
    Would you listen to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay again? Why?

    Maybe, I don't tend to re-read anything.


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

    Just following the characters through life. Being happy for them and sad with them and even disappointed in their decisions.


    Which character – as performed by David Colacci – was your favorite?

    Sam and Joe were equally enjoyable. I really felt myself rooting for them to succeed.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    This book made me laugh and cry.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Catherine Burkittsville, MD, United States 02-26-13
    Catherine Burkittsville, MD, United States 02-26-13 Member Since 2008
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    "I'm so sorry it's over!"

    I loved being in Kavalier & Clay's world. David Colacci's reading captures it perfectly. What a great, great book!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    jayzed Israel 02-11-13
    jayzed Israel 02-11-13
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    "Chabon Magic"
    Would you consider the audio edition of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay to be better than the print version?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    Creative original story, with strains of Jewish American culture presented in a very unique form compared to trends in the genre.


    What about David Colacci’s performance did you like?

    It was very good however, I was not always happy about accents - but this is minor. It was professional and engaging.


    If you could take any character from The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay out to dinner, who would it be and why?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    SV 02-04-13
    SV 02-04-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Wonderful novel from one of America's best writers"
    Would you listen to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay again? Why?

    Not likely-- I tend not to reread books, even excellent ones like this.


    What other book might you compare The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay to and why?

    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.


    Which character – as performed by David Colacci – was your favorite?

    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.


    If you could rename The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, what would you call it?

    I wouldn't-- the title is perfect.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    annastazia OAKLAND, CA, United States 12-18-12
    annastazia OAKLAND, CA, United States 12-18-12
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    "Well-written, well-narrated!"
    What made the experience of listening to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay the most enjoyable?

    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.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth Kansas City, MO, United States 11-08-12
    Elizabeth Kansas City, MO, United States 11-08-12 Member Since 2015

    Slight silly, mostly mellow, little lady.

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    "A great read! The comics come alive in your mind!"
    What did you like best about this story?

    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!


    What about David Colacci’s performance did you like?

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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. :-)

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Waltham, MA 09-27-12
    Amazon Customer Waltham, MA 09-27-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Surprise Hit of the Year"

    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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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  • Karen
    London, United Kingdom
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "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.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  • Andrew
    7/24/15
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    "Very enjoyable"
    Would you listen to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay again? Why?

    Yes, its a long story with many parts. Worth a second visit.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The journey into the early years of the comic industry and the two main characters were strong.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Can't say. Spoiler.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Lesleyboyd
    scarborough, United Kingdom
    7/22/15
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • mr
    London, United Kingdom
    6/25/15
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    Story
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Marion
    United Kingdom
    3/19/15
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Bridget O'Brien
    1/28/15
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    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Peter
    Bourne, Lincs, United Kingdom
    7/7/14
    Overall
    Performance
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    "Refreshingly dfferent"
    What made the experience of listening to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay the most enjoyable?

    The story flowed well. It was interesting hearing about their lives.


    Have you listened to any of David Colacci’s other performances? How does this one compare?

    Not heard any other books but would look out for them now


    Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Made me laugh at times


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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