will's Reviews > The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
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's review
Mar 27, 2008

it was amazing

Is it just me or do you hate it when you can see how a book is going to end and you don't want it end that way? With 100+ pages to go, I lowered the book and sulked. Sulked in that way I knew that Maria would ask what was wrong. She did. She never fails me.

Do you not like the book?

I did. I loved the book. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon is a wonderful book. Maria's kids wanted to buy their father a book for his birthday and had picked one of the "3 for 2" pile. In a bitter-twisted-we-hate-the-ex sort of way we both took the opportunity to pick up a book each and then feel good about the fact that we hadn't had to spend any money on his present! His book was free! (Yes, I can be this childish!) I nearly put it back down when Maria pointed out that she had loved the author's "Wonder Boys" - a book I hadn't read but knew that Michael Douglas had been in the film and Michael Douglas is not one of those people who inspires me. However, time was marching on, I couldn't see another book I wanted, it was thick - all good criteria for picking a book. And I loved the book.

It is one of those books that covers the different events in people's lives as "momentous" moments happen (gosh I love it when I write so good). There is the story of an escape from the Czech(oslovakian) Jewish ghettos (I learnt all about Golems). There is the founding of a comic-book empire. There is a war story. And through it all there is a love story that involves two men (Kavalier and Clay) and a woman (Rosa) which nicely deals with the morals and intricacies of life in New York from the life before the Second World War, through it, until just after.

It is a very good book. At first I thought it was a "fictionalisation" of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby (which would have interested be intensely because I am a "geek") but it isn't, it is much more than that. Oddly it is a book that is improving the further I get away from it. As mentioned above - I knew I was going to hate the ending but, the more I think about it, the more I realise that it is a good ending, a happy ending for Clay. And that was the important thing for me. You see, although the book purports to be about both Kavalier and Clay it isn't - it is about Kavalier. And, to tell the truth, I didn't like Kavalier as much as I liked Clay. This made me slightly different to the author. He wanted the reader to like Kavalier, heck, I think the author wanted to be Kavalier, but I didn't get that empathetic feeling to him. True, I have nothing in common with Clay but his story interested me more. His character I wanted to know more about. It was Clay whom I wanted to have the happy ending for and yet, as I closed the book, I felt that he had (sort of) missed out. Yet the more I think about it, the more I realise that, Clay got the happy ending because he gets the new start. And now it hits me, I can see a bit of my story in Clay's!

Anyhoo. Good book. Read it if you get the chance!
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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Melanie I don't usually comment to people I don't know but I read your first paragraph after finishing this book and had to let you know I felt the same way. As I came toward the end of this book it was like I knew at any moment I would miss these two characters especially Sam Clay who always seemed to be the more open of the two characters.

Dustin O'neal I find it so weird that everyone says this is a book about Kavalier. I agree there are portions that heavily favor his storyline--the beginning flashbacks and the awful, boring wartime passages--but Sam was the emotional core. He was more necessary as a character, I think.

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