The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

A Novel

Chabon, Michael

Book - 2000
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay
With this brilliant novel, the bestselling author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Wonder Boys gives us an exhilarating triumph of language and invention, a stunning novel in which the tragicomic adventures of a couple of boy geniuses reveal much about what happened to America in the middle of the twentieth century. Like Phillip Roth's American Pastoral or Don DeLillo's Underworld, Michael Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a superb novel with epic sweep, spanning continents and eras, a masterwork by one of America's finest writers. It is New York City in 1939. Joe Kavalier, a young artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdini-esque escape, has just pulled off his greatest feat to date: smuggling himself out of Nazi-occupied Prague. He is 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 collaborator to create the heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit the American dreamscape: the comic book. Out of their fantasies, fears, and dreams, Joe and Sammy weave the legend of that unforgettable champion the Escapist. And inspired by the beautiful and elusive Rosa Saks, a woman who will be linked to both men by powerful ties of desire, love, and shame, they create the otherworldly mistress of the night, Luna Moth. As the shadow of Hitler falls across Europe and the world, the Golden Age of comic books has begun. The brilliant writing that has led critics to compare Michael Chabon to John Cheever and Vladimir Nabokov is everywhere apparent in The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Chabon writes "like a magical spider, effortlessly spinning out elaborate webs of words that ensnare the reader," wrote Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times about Wonder Boys--and here he has created, in Joe Kavalier, a hero for the century.

Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2000], ©2000
ISBN: 0679450041
Branch Call Number: FICTION Cha
Characteristics: 639 pages ; 25 cm


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Mar 23, 2015
  • chipublib1 rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

This is a dense, interesting book. I'm afraid I haven't found it a compelling read so far. I keep putting it down, reading something else and coming back to it for a few pages. But it's an interesting time period.

Mar 03, 2015

Interesting characters and plot, but Chabon uses 3 words where one well-chosen one will do. Because of that, I could only plow through about 40 pages at a time. Fans of Thomas Hardy will enjoy. Others may not.

Sep 17, 2014
  • wauumdob rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

I read this book years ago and really liked it. It was a look into another world and very interesting.

Sep 13, 2014
  • wilcar49 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

I did not like this book, it's a heavy brick of a read. The plot and characters did not interest me. I only got half way through and gave up.

Sep 13, 2014
  • jescar82 rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

This is 2014/15 selection for "One Book, One Chicago" The characters, plot, and themes lack any sort of interesting, analytical depth that makes a book worth reading. I was extremely disappointed with this novel. I only read about ten chapters and returned the book back to the library.

Sep 13, 2014

I have a new back today. For real

Sep 05, 2014

Beautifully written, prolix ramble through pre WWII America...very readable, very enjoyable, and just a tad self-indulgent IMHO. Still, it's worth a go if you have the time and patience.

Sep 03, 2014
  • gretchh rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This was not just a great story with a complex plot and characters, but written with a knowing touch. Highly recommended!

Aug 31, 2013
  • nsteeves rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

The many kinds of love (romantic, brotherly, love of art) and love stories in K & C make it one of my very favorites.

May 30, 2013
  • zackhaslam rated this: 4.5 stars out of 5.

A wholy remarkable book, presenting only a few qualms.

As a history of the comic book, including the real world contextualization against the backdrop of the Jewish-American experience and the 20th century's myriad new mediums... I don't think you'd find a parallel. Chabon captures all the fascinating psychological bearings of the comic book superhero.

The plot develops in a straightforward fashion, the protagonists are easily sympathized with, and there's nothing ugly about the writing or structure to get worried about.

It fits the subject matter, and it fits the 'history-bio' style but I did pause a few times to tell myself to ignore the pomp of the 'momentous occasions' that make up a few anecdotes. It's a big book. It's an epic book. It's an important book. But its best moments are smaller, and quieter.

(And the best bit is the Antarctica bit.)

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Mar 30, 2010

An epic novel about two cousins who find themselves at the epicenter of the golden age of American comic books when they create the prewar superhero, The Escapist.


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Oct 13, 2014
  • mawls rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

Hope had been his enemy, a frailty that he must at all costs master, for so long now that it was a moment before he was willing to concede that he had let it back into his heart.


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