Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay was the first book I finished over my Thanksgiving break. Unfortunately, that means there have been three books since then to cloud my memory. I should probably consider taking notes. Nevertheless, I will do my best to share my thoughts with you.
This is a 600 page novel that covers many decades of time so a short description can’t really do it justice, but I’ll try. The book begins with Joe Kavalier escaping from Prague as World War II gets underway. He must leave his family behind, but ends up in New York where his cousin Sam Klayman lives. Together the boys create a comic book character, The Escapist, that becomes hugely successful. From there, more comic book characters are spawned, but Kavalier remains focused on saving his family. Over time, the boys must face more than a few trials life throws at them.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, everyone I know who read this book really liked it. My dad says he enjoyed it so much because it includes some of his favorite topics: World War II and comic books. It’s funny because neither of those topics are anywhere near my favorites, but I still got very involved in the story and would highly recommend it. Because it’s not a book just about comic books or just about the war. It’s about making it in New York, finding friendship, and discovering love in whatever shape it may take.
It does, however, start slowly, taking a while to get to the meat of the plot. This does not bode well for such a long book. But once I got into it, I was into it. You really connect with the characters, even as they prove to be flawed and self-destructive in ways.
I even occasionally found myself to be enjoying the comic book subplots. But don’t tell my brother.