The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

Published: 2000

Genre: fiction

Length: 638 pages

Setting: mostly NYC, 1939-1950s

Interest: It won the Pulitzer Prize in 2001

Summary: We mostly follow the life of Joe Kavalier. He’s a Jewish boy from Prague and his family spends all their resources to get him out and then the Germans change the rules. He’s smuggled out and ends up with his cousin, Sammy Clay, in NYC. Sammy convinces Joe to join him in creating comics and they embark on a wonderful partnership. Even with all his success, Joe is haunted by the fact that his family is still in Prague. When a plan to bring his younger brother, Thomas, to NYC results in his death, Joe cracks and enlists. He’s sent to an Antarctic station and nearly dies. He falls off the face of the earth and resurfaces in the Empire State Building, showing himself first to the son he abandoned in utero.

Final thoughts: While I enjoyed the story, it was really long.  I found the setting in the Golden Age of comics to be fascinating, since I’m a comic book reader now. I haven’t read any of the old stuff – it really was quite juvenile – but it allowed for some great works to be created in this day and age. The interactions between Joe and Sammy were also fascinating. Sammy was the brains of the operation and Joe was the artistic talent. We had a bit of a relationship triangle going on as well between Joe, Sammy, and Joe’s girlfriend, Rosa. Can’t really call it a love triangle since Sammy was gay, but he married Rosa when Joe ran off leaving her pregnant. Sammy never really had a chance to love until he finally took his chances at the end of the story.

Title comes from: It’s a play on a typical comic book title

Awards won: Pulitzer Price in 2001

Reading challenges fulfilled: 87/100 in my 100 Book Challenge, 8/12 in the Check Off Your Reading List Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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