Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon was originally published in 2000. My paperback copy has 636 pages. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is the winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. I've heard it said that you are either a fan of Chabon or you aren't. Count me in as a fan.
The scope and breadth of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, numerous themes, great characters, detailed information, and descriptions all combined with Chabon's incredible writing, with equal parts of humor and pathos, to make this a great book. I could be laughing over a turn of phrase one minute and a moment later stunned into poignant silence. Any writer with that talent deserves my respect and admiration. It was well worth the Pulitzer. Rating: 5

At Barnes & Noble; from the publisher:

It's 1939, in New York City. Joe Kavalier, a young artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdiniesque escape, has just pulled off his greatest feat - smuggling himself out of Hitler's Prague. He's 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 partner in creating the heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit the American dreamscape: the comic book.

Inspired by their own fantasies, fears, and dreams, Kavalier and Clay create the Escapist, the Monitor, and the otherworldy Mistress of the Night, Luna Moth, inspired by the beautiful Rosa Saks, who will become linked by powerful ties to both men. The golden age of comic books has begun, even as the shadow of Hitler falls across Europe.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a stunning novel of endless comic invention and unforgettable characters, written in the exhilarating prose that has led critics to compare Michael Chabon to Cheever and Nabokov. In Joe Kavalier, Chabon, writing "like a magical spider, effortlessly spinning out elaborate webs of words that ensnare the reader" (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times), has created a hero for the century.


first sentence:
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 1

"His face was an inverted triangle, brow large, chin pointed, with pouting lips and a blunt, quarrelsome nose. He slouched, and wore clothes badly: he always looked as though he had just been jumped for his lunch money." pg. 1

"The natural smell of her body was a spicy, angry smell like that of fresh pencil shavings." pg. 5

"In 1939 the American comic book, like the beavers and cockroaches of prehistory, was larger and in its cumbersome way, more splendid than its modern descendant." pg. 74

"In the immemorial style of young men under pressure, they decided to lie down for awhile and waste time." pg. 118

"I always save room for dessert... is babka dessert?'
"An eternal question among my people... There are some who argue that it's actually a kind of small hassock." pg. 311

"It seemed to be her destiny to live among men whose solutions were invariably more complicated or extreme than the problems they were intended to solve." pg. 558


Kucki68 said...

I still have this somewhere in my TBR pile as well. So I need to get back to it.

Jane said...

This sounds good!