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Showing 1-10 of 433 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 1,160 reviews
on August 14, 2017
As I began reading this book, I thought I would really enjoy it. I liked the writing style, as it reminded me of John Irving's, and he is one of my favorites. There are aspects to this book that are really good, but some of it is just plain dull. It took me almost the entire summer to read this book. I kept putting it down and begrudgingly going back to it. I can't really recommend it, unless you are really into the history of comic books.
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on January 20, 2016
I kept waiting for something to happen that would help me really care about the characters. It just never clicked for me, though the concept of a novel dealing with the holocaust from the standpoint of how Americans saw it unfolding (or not) was interesting. I really expected the plot device of the golem to be resolved more successfully.
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on March 29, 2017
Charming book about the advent of the comic book industry in New York and the quirky relationship between and talented Artist and his brilliant cousin who recreate the genre, Its full of great bits of history, intriguing characters and non stop adventure. An easy read and one that left me wanting more.
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VINE VOICEon November 4, 2016
What an amazing novel. Despite its length made even longer by smaller type, it was just so compelling and very moving in places. It wrapped up a bit too neat by still a fantastic read.
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on June 11, 2016
I appreciate this is a well written story. However, it was melancholy. Which I hate. But it truely captured the feelings of that era. It certainly gave me a different perspective on the Hiltler tyranny, and devastation his rule caused. Still. The book left me feeling moody.
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on December 28, 2013
There are a bare handful of books that I read more than once. This one, I read at least once a year.

Let's get the technical stuff out of the way first. I was delighted when Michael Chabon's catalog finally came out in e-book format, and "Kavalier and Clay" was the first thing I grabbed. This is a fine digital copy. It seems that publishers, especially the big ones, are getting better at packaging their content digitally (remember the earlier days, with dozens of typos and weird formatting errata?) No such issues here.

Now, to the novel itself. This is one of those books that seems to exist somehow JUST under the radar of mainstream. I'm not sure why that is the case: it certainly seems to have a huge and dedicated fan base. But just try mentioning it to your friends. I bet most of them have never heard of it.

Which is a shame, because what a novel it is. Is there a more hauntingly tragic figure than withered little dreamer Sammy Klayman? A more shattered, yet hopefully redemptive one than Joe Kavalier? Is there a novel that does more to cocoon you in the sepia movie-reel nostalgia of its setting (and is there any more larger-than-life time period to set it than America in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s?) before sinking you into the nauseatingly human quagmire just below the surface?

Yes, this is a love letter to comic books, but in one sense I despise that piece of the plot because it turns off so many would-be readers ("it's about COMIC BOOKS? No thanks..."). Dismissing this masterpiece because of that element is like saying you won't support a baseball team because you don't like the color of their mascot: you're rather missing the bigger picture. Every year I give at least two or three copies of this book as gifts to various people. I've never once had one come back at me saying "it was ok, but the comic books ruined it for me."

It is not flawless. The "Radioman" section, for instance, has beautiful elements but stops the book dead in its tracks (and serves a slightly clumsy, almost roll-your-eyes-it's-so-ham-handed metaphysical purpose for one main character). Does that matter, though, when you have so much else in here that is such a marvel?
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on January 4, 2015
Well, this is a very long book! Very long! My book club selected it and I felt obligated to read it and while the author's style is charming and skillful, I thought there was just way too much detail. I quit reading about 3/4 through and let my book club pals tell me how it ended. If you're really into comic books and their US history, you may find this fascinating.
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on June 2, 2014
This book helped me through a very tough time in my life.

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.
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on April 25, 2017
It's so sad that the movie version of this novel has been stuck in development hell for years, because I think it would be fantastic. There was just enough fact and history in this novel to make me al oat believe it was a completely true story. Masterful writing!
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on April 28, 2017
Amazing story and very well told. The writing is clear and compelling, the characters are deep and plausible, and the story makes you want to go get a big stack of vintage comics and comb through them for social commentary!
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