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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

by Michael Chabon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,102370213 (4.21)1 / 696
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.… (more)
  1. 184
    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. 71
    The Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem (Othemts)
  5. 73
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz (Othemts, questionablepotato)
  6. 20
    Lily Renée, Escape Artist: From Holocaust Survivor to Comic Book Pioneer 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
  7. 31
    The Escapists by Michael Chabon (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.
  8. 31
    Carter Beats the Devil by Glen David Gold (tmspinks)
  9. 10
    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (Bookmarque)
    Bookmarque: A little birdie told me this was a great fit!
  10. 32
    A Fraction of the Whole by Steve Toltz (alzo)
  11. 10
    The People's Act of Love by James Meek (alzo)
  12. 00
    Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem (sturlington)
  13. 00
    Join by Steve Toutonghi (47degreesnorth)
  14. 00
    Crossing California by Adam Langer (BookshelfMonstrosity)
  15. 11
    Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese (Miranda_Paige)
  16. 45
    Captain America: The Classic Years, Volume 1 by Joe Simon (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Trailblazing comics from a real-life Kavalier & Clay.
  17. 03
    Underworld by Don DeLillo (igorken)
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English (363)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (370)
Showing 1-5 of 363 (next | show all)
I couldn't finish this one. I thought I'd really like it but it just never clicked for me, so I put it down one day and never went back. ( )
  jlweiss | Apr 23, 2021 |
All comic book fans should read this one. ( )
  illmunkeys | Apr 22, 2021 |
Took several turns I didn't expect, a fully developed if improbable world in war-time NYC.

There were numerous turns, none of which I saw coming. A fantastic read. ( )
  kcshankd | Apr 8, 2021 |
Interesting book about the WWII era dn the beginning of the comic books time. It was well written and interesting. The LGBTQ was a little too in the face for me, but that is probably my issue and not the issue of the book. ( )
  KamGeb | Jan 18, 2021 |
This one ticks a few boxes for me, among them a consideration of the friction between high and low art and bits about magic and in particular Houdini, both of which were a fascination for me when I was younger. I liked it a lot. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 363 (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 (21 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chabon, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baardman, GerdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colacci, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
We have this history of impossible solutions for insoluble problems
--Will Eisner, in conversation
Wonderful escape!
--Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Wakefield"
Dedication
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.
Quotations
"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
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Canonical DDC/MDS

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

No library descriptions found.

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."
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