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

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
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Jan 04, 12

bookshelves: meh
Recommended for: people who "just don't get comics". and people who do
Read in September, 2006

This book might eventually merit a new shelf: stuff I keep trying to read and put aside because while they are good and everyone raves about them I just jump at the chance to read almost anything else.
In terms of writing, scope of imagination, and peregrinations of plot, completely deserving of its Pulitzer, but there's a self-congratulatory facility, a "look how I make a marginalized hobby into an academic metaphor for life and growing up in America and I TALK ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST TOO" feeling to Chabon's graphic-novel-sans-graphics. Maybe I've overdosed on hard luck tales of young boys with improbable dreams growing up in America smack dab in the midst of the twentieth century. Recent years have produced enough that they merit their own name: subway novels. They're the ones you can be guaranteed to see at least one person on your car reading every time you commute for about three to six months after they hit the bestseller list, or are reviewed on Oprah's book club or listed as some young but socially conscious actor's favourite in Entertainment weekly. Everyone reads them, reccommends them to friends, and has a paperback copy lying around somewhere. For about a year. And then, other than being referenced on an extraordinary number of Internet networking sites in the little box for "favourite books", they sort of fade out of the cultural lexicon. Does popularity make them any less well written? No. But I can't muster the standard level of enthusiasm for most of them because I don't think it makes them any better written than a great many other books that missed the spin train, and happen to feature someone other than a scrappy but troubled New York boy with Eastern European parents who lusts after some idealized woman or man cultural cut-out with all the personality of a box of crackers.
Middlesex also falls in to this category, and, in a sub-section, Everything is Illuminated.
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Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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Marci I am just about to attempt reading this book again, mostly due to guilt, loving Chabon, and that a friend just read it and made me want to try again. After reading this, however, my previous feeling of "meh" seems validated. What to do? And you threw Middlesex and Everything is Illuminated into that mix, of which I feel exactly the same way.

But now I don't know what to do. Kavalier & Clay is quite a commitment and I have a four month-old and I work full-time from home so this is a Big Deal to me. Reading time is effin precious. Aaaar.


message 2: by Fawnala (new)

Fawnala I like the new shelf name idea.


Melani You give this book more credit than I do, as I don't think it is written well. I love how you nailed this feeling: "here's a self-congratulatory facility, a "look how I make a marginalized hobby into an academic metaphor for life and growing up in America and I TALK ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST TOO" feeling to Chabon's graphic-novel-sans-graphics."


Melani There's (not here's)


message 5: by Lenny (new)

Lenny Wick Agreeing with your take. Every couple years it seems I pick this up, read another thirty to sixty pages, get bored, move on.


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