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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
16,557353204 (4.22)1 / 681
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. 194
    The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon (Pagemistress)
  2. 122
    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. 83
    The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz (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: A Novel 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 (346)  French (2)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (353)
Showing 1-5 of 346 (next | show all)
I was already a big fan of Chabon with [b:The Yiddish Policemen's Union|16703|The Yiddish Policemen's Union|Michael Chabon|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1386925449s/16703.jpg|95855] and later, wonderfully, with [b:Wonder Boys|16707|Wonder Boys|Michael Chabon|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1380670205s/16707.jpg|2045395]. So of course I had to pick up the official "classic" he made a name for himself with!

Tour-de-Force, epic traditional fiction, a whirlwind of blah blah blah. :)

In reality, it really is an awesomely well-rounded character novel set very firmly in the early comics industry and it made the giddy fan-boy in me go all blubbery. :) It was very nice.

The second best part of the text was the absolutely deep drill down in the characters and the time and places, from before WWII, the social mixes and prejudices and pressures, the boom of the comics industry and how it affected the war, and especially Kavalier's own little crusade to get his Jewish family out of Germany's hands. It really affected the comics, as you may guess.

But later on, even after joining the war and building families, it's even better because of Rosa. :)

Clay was really a rather breakout character, being gay. We still have to place him in his time and place though. I really laughed loudly when he was asked in the senate committee about the reason why Batman had an underage kid prancing around in tights in his underground dungeon. Public Morals, indeed!


All told, I'm very satisfied with this novel. It has a little bit of something for everyone and best yet, it's supremely crafted and beautiful. :)

( )
  bradleyhorner | Jun 1, 2020 |
I really wanted to like this book but I just could not get into it.
The positive, the story set up is great, the negative, the characters stay too flat for the amount of time this book covers. Everytime you think that there is development, there is a huge time jump and everything is is set to zero again.

spoiler- I found it strange that we did not find out more how Sam reacted to Bacon's death but we get a long inside Joe's mind when his dog needs to be killed. On the other hand again his whole ptsd from killing the German scientist is getting glanced over, just that he had it. /spoiler ( )
  Black-Lilly | Apr 29, 2020 |
Wow. Truly an epic disguised as something small. ( )
  Kelmanel | Apr 17, 2020 |
I'm conflicted on this story. The beginning was good, the ending was great but the middle was just so-so. It was like I ran into a brick wall int he middle of the book and I couldn't get around or through it. But towards the end, I got caught back up in the story again. I loved the comics angle and the relationship between Sam and Joe and would have liked to have seen more of that. Despite how much I disliked the middle, I could still see that Michael Chabon has talent and he can craft a sentence. He's a magnificent writer. If you decide to read this book and you, like me, get bogged down in the middle, just skip to the last 100 pages or so and finish the book from there. ( )
  melrailey | Apr 7, 2020 |
This book hovered between a 3 and a 3.5 star rating for me. I originally rated it as 4 stars but when I sat back and thought of the book as a whole, I realized it was closer to 3 stars/ It started out really slow and put me in a reading slump for over a month and I had to find an audiobook version to get through it. I thought the writing style was difficult to follow and unnecessarily complicated which turned me off of it a bit.

The characters were pretty good. I started out liking Joe but I liked him less as the book went on and I didn't care much for Sammy at first but grew to like him a lot toward the end. I didn't like that he decided to move to L.A. in the end. though. Tommy was really cool and so was Rosa.

The story was mostly kind boring and dragged on a lot but it had some good points. My favorite parts were when Sam and Joe were coming up with the comic book characters and when they were all together in the end.

As a major comic book geek I also liked all of the background and mentions of familiar comic books so that was cool. The book was clearly well researched and did feel realistic.

Overall I'd have to say the book was ok. Not life changing and probably not reread worth unless I'm desperate but I don't regret reading it at all.
( )
  KayIS813 | Mar 27, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 346 (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 (9 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Chabon, Michaelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baardman, GerdaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Colacci, DavidNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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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: (4.22)
0.5 5
1 47
1.5 9
2 137
2.5 42
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