Book Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay


I finished Michael Chabon's Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay which left me with a book hangover and the feeling of having read and excuse the pun, an amazing, yet exhausting adventure. 

"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."

Years ago I would probably have disliked this book because of Chabon's writing style. Today I appreciate and understand it, and especially like how he emulated Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried with the vivid writing and lists of thoughts, things, people, ideas. The details drew me into the story and planted me right there with each one of the characters.  Each character, affected by their heritage, their families, the people around them, the war with Germany.   

The timeline, from the 1930's through 1950's, told a story of survival, revenge, acceptance, humor, obsession, grief, and love, and hard work. Now that I think about it, all the stages of grief. Since  my son is into comic books, enjoyed the artistry and thought that went into making them.  I cheered for their victories and booed their losses, and the people who took advantage of them.  And I'll be pondering the mysticism and symbolism of the Golem from beginning to end for a while.  Would you believe that through out the whole dang second half of the book, I held on to hope Kavilier's brother was still alive out there someplace and would make an appearance at some point.  

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and look forward to reading Chabon's Yiddish Policemen's Union.

Alphabet, Dusty, Jewish historical fiction, Prague, Antarctic, New York, 684

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