Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Book Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a colossal novel in every sense. As a trade paperback, its six hundred fifty-nine pages teem with history many of us never knew existed. A 2001 Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is an epic array of fiction woven skillfully with fact.

Sammy Clay’s imagination and enterprising spirit isn’t slowed down by his physical limitations, the effects of childhood polio. But, on his own, he can only dream of ambitions for which most people of the time aren’t even aware, a comic book empire.

Along comes Sammy’s cousin, Josef Kavalier, an escapee from Prague. Joe’s entire focus is to rescue his family from Nazy Germany’s oppression. Not only is Josef a talented former art student, he is a skilled magician and escape artist. The two young men combine their talents, each working toward their individual goals.

Together Sammy and Joe embark on the emerging comic book industry, making a name for themselves, along with the notable Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the writer-artist team that created Superman.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay covers a dozen pre- and post-World War II years. Chabon’s sweeping, intricately researched novel is a captivating read encompassing early comic book years, fantasy, magic, love and war, all richly drawn with believable characters. It’s no wonder this book received the Pulitzer Prize–it’s a triumphant, highly engaging work of fiction.

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