Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by…

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

by Michael Chabon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
14,173296143 (4.23)1 / 559
  1. 174
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (Pagemistress)
  2. 112
    The World According to Garp by John Irving (alzo)
  3. 71
    The ten-cent plague : the great comic-book scare and how it changed America by David Hajdu (legxleg, questionablepotato)
    legxleg: The Ten-Cent Plague is a nonfiction book about the crackdown on the morality of comics that the characters of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay are so affected by.
  4. 61
    The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem (Othemts)
  5. 83
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (Othemts, questionablepotato)
  6. 31
    Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold (tmspinks)
  7. 20
    Lily Renee, Escape Artist by Trina Robbins (WomensSeqArtLibrary)
    WomensSeqArtLibrary: A graphic biography for younger readers about a real-life Kavalier; the true story of a young Jewish woman who escaped Nazi-occupied Vienna and became a legendary comic book artist
  8. 31
    The Escapists by Brian K. Vaughan (WomensSeqArtLibrary)
    WomensSeqArtLibrary: Companion book about group of young artistic friends trying to re-imagine the Escapist for the 21st century, by one of the hottest comic book writers of our age.
  9. 10
    The People's Act of Love by James Meek (alzo)
  10. 00
    Crossing California by Adam Langer (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  11. 00
    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: A little birdie told me this was a great fit!
  12. 11
    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (Miranda_Paige)
  13. 00
    Telegraph Avenue: A Novel by Michael Chabon (sturlington)
  14. 33
    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (alzo)
  15. 46
    Captain America the Classic Years (Marvel Comics (Paperback)) (v. 1) by Joe Simon (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Trailblazing comics from a real-life Kavalier & Clay.
  16. 03
    Underworld by Don DeLillo (igorken)
1940s (84)
Unread books (1,048)

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (290)  French (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (296)
Showing 1-5 of 290 (next | show all)
Almost 4 stars. Very good, very well written. The structure felt a little overly loose at times and part felt really hard to slog through. ( )
  Jackie_Sassa | Nov 20, 2015 |
Unputdownable. This book has it all - a plot you could get lost in, beautiful characters, powerfully written prose. It's not right to think of this as a strictly Jewish novel. The characters are Jewish, shaped by World War II, creating art that responds to that world; but this is a thoroughly American book. The bones of the plot could translate to today, seamlessly - an ambitious young man has difficulty finding himself, an illegal immigrant tries to make a life for himself in a new country, the struggles are timeless. Their experiences transform them. This book is fantastic. ( )
  sarahuna | Nov 15, 2015 |
People raved about this book, so I was a little disappointed that it was merely very good.

The story is compelling, interesting and as the title promises, the adventures are amazing. The symbolism was a tad ham-handed for my tastes, but that was well balanced by Chabon's precise and poetic writing. If I'd never heard anything about this, I probably would have been very impressed. As it was, I enjoyed it a great deal, even if I'm a bit mystified about what the big deal is. ( )
  darushawehm | Oct 24, 2015 |
How to summarize my thoughts regarding this one. Well, Chabon has done a wonderful job capturing the Golden Age of comic books and the buzzing energy of New York in all its World War II and post-World War II glory. He has created solid, three dimensional characters in Sammy, Joe and Rosa. I am not one of those readers who seeks to uncover the "story within the story" or to understand the symbolism the author may have imbued within his or her story, but even I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Chabon makes some interesting choices here with the Golem, the comic book superheroes and the internal demons our lead characters struggle against. The story has an epic quality to it, starting off in pre-World War II Prague before landing in the teeming streets of Brooklyn/ New York and then off to the desolation of Antarctica, which was one of my favorite sections of the story, apart from the escape artist/magician angle. While I don't know much about the history of comic books, I was able to follow along and feel the vibe of energy and passion that may have driven the artists, writers and publishers who conjured up the superheroes who graced the pages of 10 cent comic books.

As much as the story has all of the desired character and plot development - with some unexpected twists - all captured in Chabon's descriptive prose, I never felt drawn in. I never felt a part of the story. It was easy for me to put the book down, even for the most mundane of household tasks, which is why it took my almost a month to read through it. Good story, but not a great page-turning read for me like Chabon's novel The Gentlemen of the Road. ( )
  lkernagh | Oct 8, 2015 |
If I have one big criticism about this book, it's that, as with all things American, it's blind to the American mythos. It's as if the rest of the world did not exist, as of the novel's beginnings in Czechoslovakia, the characters' development, were but the mud and elements that, like some Biblical beginning, like the making of the Golem from river mud by rabbis, only to be properly humanised, finalised, in the American melting pot, can only end there, in that way. I'm not sure any other country's citizens sees themselves first as their nationality, then as themselves. I think Americans are more communal, more communist, than anyone: they think collectively. "Look at what we did!" Thus, every beautiful word of this book seems to be screened in American mesh; any malformed lumps from elsewhere are tossed aside. Agaih, you'd think the rest of the world was not quite human. From typewriters to music to modern art, it's all American. Okay, I think Magritte is mentioned. Canada is referenced, several times--even a joke about the humanness of being unsure if Quebec is east of Ontario (just as I cannot seem to unlearn that Washington, DC, is not in the dead-centre of the USA). Not that Americans have not done their share of creative invention... that is not in question, but the navel-gazing is characteristic. I didn't know the word "prised," as in "I priseed the bone out of my dog's jaws" could be spelled with a zed.

A strong point of this book is that it seamlessly integrates touchstones or topical themes, whereas some novels seem to force a novel around some area of human interest. For example, I can think of novels that use lepidoptery or the search for rare books or some other theme to plumb an interest, almost in a nonfiction manner, and the plot is wrapped around that topic like a taped-on dustjacket. Here we learn about the history of comic books--who knew they were so exclusively begun by Jews? I had no idea--and about a time in the world when New York must have been a place of great beauty and fascination. The World Fair. The Empire State Building. Advanced subways. Jazz. Whoopee cushions. Gated lifestyle. We learn an entire subset of entertainment, heyday past--illusion, escapism, magic. Bloody fascinating. The human inside Houdini, trying to remain locked in.

An essential part of the book are the unlikely friendships, and the expected ones as well. Perhaps I felt the plot was a bit convenient at times, that maybe not even good friends and business partners would go to bat for the other to that extent ... but it was very satisfying. There was one section of the book I found repugnant, but I kept with it. And the love shown for the children in the book was extremely touching, kind and parentally promising. For those of us who never quite got the expected family going, it's a pleasant vicarious read.

Beautiful book, resplendent with an unusual epic breadth of canvas--I could say bristol board--and refreshing vocabulary that will force me now to erase little pencil marks at my OED. The word "tenderness" is used frequently in the novel, and i believe that's the essential tone of the tale. You say "those two are in love" and you yearn to see a photo of that beautiful woman both as first discovered, half-uncovered in bed as a young woman and later as a filled-out mom. A brilliant novel. Deserving of its Pulitzer, which I believe was awarded for its tenderness and vastness more than for its myth-repeating nature. ( )
  Muzzorola | Oct 6, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 290 (next | show all)
It's like a graphic novel inked in words and starring the author himself in the lead role: Wonder Boy.
This is definitely New York, the old-school version. In the fusion of dashing young men in fresh new $12 suits, the smell of newsprint and burned coffee and laundry, and the courage to face unrelenting evil with pluck and humor, Chabon has created an important work, a version of the 20th century both thrillingly recognizable and all his own.
added by ty1997 | editsalon.com, Amy Benfer (Sep 28, 2000)
Although suffused with tragedy, ''The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay'' proves to be a comic epic, generously optimistic about the human struggle for personal liberation.
With ''The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay,'' Mr. Chabon has fashioned a big, ripe, excitingly imaginative novel and set it in the world of his grandfather, a New York City typographer at a plant where comics were printed... In loving if sometimes windy detail, since his great book is buried inside a larger and more meandering one, the prodigiously talented author of ''Wonder Boys'' leads readers into the world of Sam and Joe's pop collaboration.
Chabon is a genius --- there is no other way to describe his ability to blend Hitler, comic books, brotherhood, first love, fame and the pitfalls of celebrity, Brooklyn Jewish home life, the European struggle against the Third Reich, America's growing prosperity, and good-looking women who use their smarts and their curves to get ahead in the world together in such a cohesive, complete story.

» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michael Chabonprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baardman, GerdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Information from the Dutch Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
We have this history of impossible solutions for insoluble problems
--Will Eisner, in conversation
Wonderful escape!
--Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Wakefield"
To my father
The Gabrielov Family
First words
In later years, holding forth to an interviewer or to an audience of aging fans at a comic book convention, Sam Clay liked to declare, apropos of his and Joe Kavalier's greatest creation, that back when he was a boy, sealed and hog-tied inside the airtight vessel known as Brooklyn, New York, he had been haunted by dreams of Harry Houdini.
"We have the idea that our hearts, once broken, scar over with an indestructible tissue that prevents their ever breaking again in quite the same place."
"The true magic of this broken world lay in the ability of the things it contained to vanish, to become so thoroughly lost that they might never have existed in the first place."
It was a mark of how fucked-up and broken was the world - the reality - that had swallowed his home and his family that such a feat of escape, by no means easy to pull off, should remain so universally despised.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
The novel follows the lives of the title characters, a Czech artist named Joe Kavalier and a Brooklyn-born writer named Sam Clay—both Jewish—before, during, and after World War II. Kavalier and Clay become major figures in the nascent comics industry during its "Golden Age."
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0312282990, Paperback)

Like the comic books that animate and inspire it, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is both larger than life and of it too. Complete with golems and magic and miraculous escapes and evil nemeses and even hand-to-hand Antarctic battle, it pursues the most important questions of love and war, dreams and art, across pages brimming with longing and hope. Samuel Klayman--self-described little man, city boy, and Jew--first meets Josef Kavalier when his mother shoves him aside in his own bed, telling him to make room for their cousin, a refugee from Nazi-occupied Prague. It's the beginning, however unlikely, of a beautiful friendship. In short order, Sam's talent for pulp plotting meets Joe's faultless, academy-trained line, and a comic-book superhero is born. A sort of lantern-jawed equalizer clad in dark blue long underwear, the Escapist "roams the globe, performing amazing feats and coming to the aid of those who languish in tyranny's chains!" Before they know it, Kavalier and Clay (as Sam Klayman has come to be known) find themselves at the epicenter of comics' golden age.

But Joe Kavalier is driven by motives far more complex than your average hack. In fact, his first act as a comic-book artist is to deal Hitler a very literal blow. (The cover of the first issue shows the Escapist delivering "an immortal haymaker" onto the Führer's realistically bloody jaw.) In subsequent years, the Escapist and his superhero allies take on the evil Iron Chain and their leader Attila Haxoff--their battles drawn with an intensity that grows more disturbing as Joe's efforts to rescue his family fail. He's fighting their war with brush and ink, Joe thinks, and the idea sustains him long enough to meet the beautiful Rosa Saks, a surrealist artist and surprisingly retrograde muse. But when even that fiction fails him, Joe performs an escape of his own, leaving Rosa and Sammy to pick up the pieces in some increasingly wrong-headed ways.

More amazing adventures follow--but reader, why spoil the fun? Suffice to say, Michael Chabon writes novels like the Escapist busts locks. Previous books such as The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Wonder Boys have prose of equal shimmer and wit, and yet here he seems to have finally found a canvas big enough for his gifts. The whole enterprise seems animated by love: for his alternately deluded, damaged, and painfully sincere characters; for the quirks and curious innocence of tough-talking wartime New York; and, above all, for comics themselves, "the inspirations and lucubrations of five hundred aging boys dreaming as hard as they could." Far from negating such pleasures, the Holocaust's presence in the novel only makes them more pressing. Art, if not capable of actually fighting evil, can at least offer a gesture of defiance and hope--a way out, in other words, of a world gone completely mad. Comic-book critics, Joe notices, dwell on "the pernicious effect, on young minds, of satisfying the desire to escape. As if there could be any more noble or necessary service in life." Indeed. --Mary Park

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:51 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

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. Annotation. 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.… (more)

» see all 7 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
10 avail.
487 wanted
4 pay22 pay

Popular covers


Average: (4.23)
0.5 5
1 40
1.5 9
2 116
2.5 42
3 485
3.5 152
4 1363
4.5 307
5 1862


4 editions of this book were published by Audible.com.

See editions

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Store | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 100,854,897 books! | Top bar: Always visible