Sunday, June 9, 2013

{2013 TBR Pile Challenge} The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

ISBN #: 978-0312282998
Page Count: 636
Copyright: August 25, 2001
Publisher: Picador; Reprint

Book Summary:
(Taken from Goodreads)

Joe Kavalier, a young Jewish artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdini-esque escape, has just smuggled himself out of Nazi-invaded Prague and landed in New York City. His Brooklyn cousin Sammy Clay is looking for a partner to create heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit America - the comic book. Drawing on their own fears and dreams, Kavalier and Clay create the Escapist, the Monitor, and Luna Moth, inspired by the beautiful Rosa Saks, who will become linked by powerful ties to both men.

With exhilarating style and grace, Michael Chabon tells an unforgettable story about American romance and possibility.

Kathy's Review:
(Reprinted with Kathy's permission from her personal blog, Grown Up Book Reports)

Michael Chabon is one of my favorite authors. I always get the sense when I am reading his novels that I am in the hands of someone much smarter and wittier than me. In Kavalier & Clay, Chabon enters 1940's America, with two young men who create a comic book hero, The Escapist, and from there grow an impressive comic book empire and legacy. We follow cousins Sammy Clay and Josef Cavalier as they grow up, the nation goes to war, they grow apart and eventually come back together. And some other stuff happens too.

My interest with this book ebbed and flowed, waxed and waned. Of the Chabon books I've read it was probably somewhere in the middle of the pack in terms of my favorites. But, there are people who go absolutely GAGA over this book, and you may be one of them. If you:

a.) Love comic books;

b.) Enjoy reading about WWII and the Nazis;

c.) Have a Harvard-grad level vocab

d.) Have spare time to read a 600+ page novel

I should mention that there's an element of homosexuality in this novel as well, so if that's not your thang then you may be put off by it.

Also, as all of Chabon's novels are, this is grossly long and dense. It's not a beach read. You have to use your brain and concentrate and not skim, or you'll miss something important. Sometimes a key word is just buried in the middle of a paragraph and it can turn everything on its ear. Watch out for that.

All in all, I'm glad I read it, and I can knock it off my TBR Pile. But it's not for the Average Joe or Jane. Oh, but it did win a Pulitzer in 2001.

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