I am in no way a comic book reader and I generally shy away from books of the 600 + page length, so having to read this book for a college writing class…let’s just say I was pre-disposed to hating it.
My attitude changed drastically and I ended up love it, recommending it to everyone I knew whether they were like me (pre-disposed to hating it) or not.
The struggles Chabon imposes on Kavalier & Clay, are endearing and real-world and steeped in history. The two boys are Jewish cousins in their late teenage years, living in the 1940s and they embark on one serious adventure: to make a comic book.
Each of the boys carry a rich family and ethnic past with them throughout the book, that influences them–usually to break away from it–and emerges as flashbacks to the actual time the influence took hold. Sometimes entire chapters are dedicated to the memory of the event, but it never feels like the ‘backstory information dump.”
The themes of the book emerge nicely through the struggles each boy faces: what is identity, how does society define us, the morality and acceptance of homosexuality, why does anyone have life dreams if they do nothing to catch them, what family really is.
Underlying everything is the publishing process, the real-life events of going from dream to process to reality to publication to (nope, not gonna spoil it for you). The way the boys construct their characters, and sort of become the superheroes they’ve dreamt up…that is amazing.
hence: the amazing adventures of Kavalier & Clay.
The ONLY problem i found with the book was the last chapter. I did not enjoy it. It was like watching a movie, expecting some great ending and then the director cut it off at the wrong place. Lot of buildup then… :-/
I felt there were several places to more appropriately end the story than where Chabon chose to. But maybe I don’t know anything about anything because the book won a Pulitzer Prize in 2001.
Happy Reading, Happier Writing.
Joe Kavalier, a young Jewish artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdini-esque escape, has just smuggled himself out of Nazi-invaded Prague and landed in New York City. His Brooklyn cousin Sammy Clay is looking for a partner to create heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit America – the comic book. Drawing on their own fears and dreams, Kavalier and Clay create the Escapist, the Monitor, and Luna Moth, inspired by the beautiful Rosa Saks, who will become linked by powerful ties to both men. With exhilarating style and grace, Michael Chabon tells an unforgettable story about American romance and possibility.