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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay Paperback – Unabridged, August 25, 2001
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"It's absolutely gosh-wow, super-colossal—smart, funny, and a continual pleasure to read."—Washington Post Book World
"Towering, swash-buckling thrill of a book . . . the themes are masterfully explored, leaving the book's sense of humor intact and characters so highly developed they could walk off the page."—Newsweek
"Well researched and deeply felt, this rich, expansive and hugely satisfying novel will delight a wide range of readers."—Publishers Weekly (starred + boxed)
"Elegant, lyrical writing meets gentle comedy."—San Francisco Chronicle
"Product of a sparkling intelligence, undeniable talent and consummate skill."—Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel
"A lyrical [novel] that's exquisitely patterned...composed with detailed scenes, and spotted with some rapturous passages . . . A-."—Entertainment Weekly
"A page turner in the most expansive sense of the word: its gripping plot pushes readers forward...Chabon is a reader's writer; with sentences so cozy they'll wrap you up and kiss you goodnight."—Chicago Tribune
"This is a gladhearted novel, rich in story and character and invention, and a great escape."—Orlando Sentinel
"Starts out as one of the most pleasurable novels of the past few years. It ends as one of the most moving."—Atlanta Journal-Constitution
About the Author
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The tale of Sammy Clay and his cousin, Josef Kavalier, who has just managed to escape Nazi-occupied Prague, is one of boot-strapping success, but also one of tragedy, repression, lost love, and broken hearts. It is, however, in the end, about redemption, being true to one's self, and second chances.
Chabon writes with his usual inimitable style, creating a unique vision of mid-century New York City, populated with fantastic characters almost as big as the larger-than-life four-color heroes and heroines they create. We see Sammy's greatest dreams realized, his hopes for true love crushed, the precarious balance he finds in later years, and finally, his one last attempt at self-reinvention in a life characterized by little else. We watch Joe escape the clutches of true evil, but agonize when he loses nearly everything, until he slowly reconstructs himself as the man he has always wanted to be. And we see the two cousins, lives intertwined inexorably, support each other, help each other, and ultimately, act as the source of the other's salvation.
There are few writers of Chabon's talent and skill working today, and "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay" is one of his best.
It was so beautiful and adventurous and human and sad and happy and wondrous that, over the course of a month, it lifted me out of the darkness. I rationed it to one chapter a day, which I read on the subway on my way to the office. I looked so forward to it. It's one of those books I found myself thinking about when I wasn't reading it, counting the hours until my special half hour on the subway.
I feel like the subject matter mentioned out of context might turn some people off (mostly women): it centralizes around the two jewish boys who created the comic book "The Escapist" (a metaphor for the "Superman" comic) in bustling New York City during and after World War II, a time when America needed a hero. I promise you, though, the characters, the tone, the locations and the deeply human undertones transcend the book's logline. It's really about love, religion, overcoming deep adversity (including nazis, heartbreak and profound loss), loyalty, friendship, death-defying escape acts and edge-of-your-seat excitement and adventure. The word "wondrous" really does capture the feeling the book left me with - a sense of childlike wonder and heart rending emotion simultaneously. It captures the excitement of the time so well that it made me feel I was part of something larger, just by reading it.
I hope you'll treat yourself to this (pulitzer winning) epic of human proportions. Regardless of your sex, religion, race or creed, this book has something amazing to give you. It has stuck with me for over ten years and I can't wait to read it again.