The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon

Feb 02

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay – Michael Chabon

I am always trying to challenge myself. I have a life-long challenge to read all of the Pulitzer Prize winning novels. I have also set a goal to read 50 books this year. This book by Michael Chabon covers both targets! It was maybe not the best choice during a crazy-busy January, clocking in at 700+ pages, for book number two. I will probably have to play catch-up this summer.

Josef Kavalier and Sam Clay are Jewish cousins, who meet for the first time when Joe arrives in Brooklyn, a refugee from Hitler-era Europe. They immediately click and put their creative skills together to create an amazing comic book featuring an Escape artist. The partnership bears immediate and abundant fruit. Despite the success, both Joe and Sammy are tortured souls. Joe, understandably, is haunted by the family he left behind in Prague. He finds some solace in a romantic relationship with a progressive gal named Rosa. Sam’s secret self and abandonment issues drive many of his adult choices.

The books spans the Golden Age of Comics. I sincerely enjoyed the first half of the story. The characters were expertly built, and the historical aspects were informative and entertaining. (I loved the party involving Salvador Dali.) Two major tragedies occur about half way through the book, and I never fully recovered from either.

This is my first Chabon read. He is extremely talented, and  I look forward to another book by him in my future. I will also be grateful forever for one minor character yelling, “Shark, Be Still!” to her husband while he flipped around during a sleepless night. I have stolen this line for my husband, I am sure this will be integrated into my lexicon henceforth.

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