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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

by Michael Chabon

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
17,699385224 (4.21)1 / 722
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)
Recently added byprivate library, moranl12, Hwangman, nickrowe, Ingunn.Monsen, BECSCEB, cbl_tn, booksonthursday, knudson
  1. 184
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (Pagemistress)
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  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.
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  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.
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    Bookmarque: A little birdie told me this was a great fit!
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    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
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  16. 45
    Captain America: The Classic Years, Volume 1 by Joe Simon (artturnerjr)
    artturnerjr: Trailblazing comics from a real-life Kavalier & Clay.
  17. 03
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English (377)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  German (2)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (385)
Showing 1-5 of 377 (next | show all)
[Kavalier and Clay] would have rated Five Stars if it was not for that hideous and unneeded scene where Kavalier allows his loyal dog to be shot
for no reason:

if the dog had not existed, another solution would have been found. This makes unbearable reading and shows a betrayal of the character's heart and ethics.

The otherwise strong, if way too lengthy backstories, plot veers into a caricature of a comic strip with Tommy's letter, Joe's Jump, the silly investigation, and Sammy's departure. ( )
  m.belljackson | Apr 22, 2022 |
A huge, wonderful delight of a book. It’s part mid-twentieth century melodrama, part history of comics, and an enthusiastic love letter to both those art forms. Funny, moving, gripping and richly detailed without ever being dull. I loved every page. ( )
  whatmeworry | Apr 9, 2022 |
a most wonderful book about passion, impatience, and patience. and the beauty of the comix. ( )
  AnnKlefstad | Feb 4, 2022 |
Great sense of humor and history. Chabon is a genius. ( )
  JodeMillman | Dec 16, 2021 |
The tepid occurrences of mostly Kavalier, as it would be more accurately titled. Is one of those stories which takes a certain period of history from an odd perspective. Kind of like 'Forrest Gump' or the 'Curious Case of Benjamin Button'.

In this case the 40's and 50's. The main problem with the book is really the characters, or lack of focus on the characters to be specific. When the author really zoom's in and shows what people are feeling then you become interested, its compelling at least if not amazing.
The entire last quarter is like this, however before that character connection only comes in short spurts. The author changes character perspectives or goes for a more remote viewpoint and you just stop caring.

Even at its best though its still very slight. Much of the appeal is made up of the references to 40's obscura. Its like the author did a bunch of research and came up with a list of odds and ends he was determined to get into the book regardless of what that might do to the pacing or narrative consistency.
In addition none of these references, even the comicbook stuff is particularly indepth. The whole thing feels remarkably slight given its length. The tone can be odd too, while occasionally vulgar its also remarkably sanitized, i felt like i was reading a YA novel at times.

Overall it feels like it was written by a high brow author then dumbed down for a millennial audience before being edited by a Board of Education Committee. ( )
  wreade1872 | Nov 28, 2021 |
Showing 1-5 of 377 (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
Canonical LCC

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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Average: (4.21)
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1 55
1.5 9
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2.5 42
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4 1608
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