Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” as Want to Read:
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  181,502 ratings  ·  10,838 reviews
Joe Kavalier, a young Jewish artist who has also been trained in the art of Houdini-esque escape, has just smuggled himself out of Nazi-invaded Prague and landed in New York City. His Brooklyn cousin Sammy Clay is looking for a partner to create heroes, stories, and art for the latest novelty to hit America - the comic book. Drawing on their own fears and dreams, Kavalier ...more
Paperback, 639 pages
Published August 25th 2001 by Picador USA (first published September 19th 2000)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Katy Alice (The Girl in the Garret)
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Eric Simmons
This answer contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. RowlingThe Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. RowlingHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling
Best Books of the Decade: 2000s
6,721 books — 28,189 voters
The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsHarry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. RowlingTo Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeePride and Prejudice by Jane AustenTwilight by Stephenie Meyer
Best Books Ever
50,777 books — 199,558 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  181,502 ratings  ·  10,838 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Start your review of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
Jessica
Sep 26, 2007 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: everyone but me, they all seem to love it
Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman are drinking Peet's coffee and eating zampanos in front of the Cheeseboard on Shattuck Avenue.

MC: Ayelet, I'm trying to think of a new idea for a novel. It's gotta be fresh, bold.... Something nobody's ever thought of before!

AW: Wow, Michael, that's a tough one. There have been so very many novels written over the years, it's hard to come up with something new that's never been done before....

MC: Yeah, I need an idea that's totally original..... Maybe I should a
...more
Paul Bryant
Nov 04, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: novels
In the street

“Hey!”

“Huh? me?”

“Yeah – you. You wouldn’t know great American literature if a pigeon pooed it all over your anorak.”

Wow – that was surreal… who the hell were those guys?

At the office

“The boss wants to see you.”

Oh my… that’s Mrs Higgins sitting there with Mr Duthie – she’s from the HR department! What’s going on?

“Paul, hi, sit down, yes. This is… rather awkward. You see, it has come to our attention that you’ve been, well, how can I put this delicately, heard to say… hmmm…that Micha
...more
Violet wells
My favourite adventure with a novel so far this year. I loved it to bits.

In many ways attempting to review this novel is like thinking back through an illusionist or an escape artist’s performance of his trick and trying to work out exactly how he did it. You’re left a little baffled by the nature of the magic of the thing. Ironically for a novel inspired by magicians, there are few tricks in this novel. It features no post-modernist sleights of hand with regards structure or voice. It is strai
...more
Sarahfina
May 20, 2008 rated it did not like it
Aaron and I are starting a club for people who hated this boring, boring book. Anyone want to join?
jessica
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book was given to me as a gift by a good friend, with a note saying it was one of his favourites.

not only was i fortunate to read such a wonderful story, but i feel so much closer to my friend. by experiencing what he enjoys to read, i have come to understand him so much more.

and now, whenever i think of this story, i will think about him - as both are strong, courageous, funny, and show a subtle hint of love.

4.5 stars
Fabian
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Only one abnormally enormous ego could've mustered out something so monumental, so very beautiful & elegant as this sparkly-as-chrome novel. It's basically flawless--very concerned with having all sentences that make it up into wondrous, unique gems. Every sentence is constructed with care & CRAFT.

The novel begins by grabbing the reader by the lapels to show how the bonds between cousin geniuses who build an empire out of superhero comics unravel. It takes its time to get us there, so we are in
...more
Kemper
Sep 22, 2007 rated it really liked it
I’m a fan of Michael Chabon even though he carries a man purse.

Joe Kavalier is a young artist who had also trained to be a magician and escape artist in Prague. When the Nazis invade in 1939, Joe is able to escape to America with the plan that he’ll find a way to get the rest of his family out. In New York, he meets his cousin Sam Clay. Sam is an artist of limited talent who has been doing drawings for the ads of a novelty toy company, but the recent boom of superhero comics thanks to the newly
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
While being a fun and interesting story, K&C does not feature deep character development and was IMHO about 100 pages too long. That being said, I found it highly entertaining and even instructive about the origins of comics. The descriptions of New York in the 30s, 40s and 50s was nice and the comics Chabon invented to tell the story were very creative. There is a bit of sentimentality here, but not too much and it was interesting to read this book just after Roth's I Married a Communist as the ...more
Kelly
May 24, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: everyone, particularly anyone who has had an "escapist" hobby (esp. comic books)
Whenever I mentioned the name of this book to a friend, a huge grin broke out of their face. This was a universal reaction. As were the words: "I LOVE that book. That book is GREAT." Not just how good it was, or skilled writing (though those things are also very true), but just how in love with it they were. You can't fake that. And now I know why!

I read it in two short spurts, covering about three days each, and I was done. Once you pick it up, its hard to put it down for around another hundred
...more
Whitaker
In The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Chabon asks one of the oldest questions asked in stories, and gives us the oldest answer. But, you know, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that because, really, the oldest answer is the right one. What’s the question? It’s the one asked by ever since man started telling stories: What is a hero? And his answer is, “It’s not the guy who goes out there with fisty cuffs and guns blazing. It’s the guy who goes out there and comes back every night to f ...more
Candi
3.5 stars

"The magician seemed to promise that something torn to bits might be mended without a seam, that what had vanished might reappear, that a scattered handful of doves or dust might be reunited by a word, that a paper rose consumed by fire could be made to bloom from a pile of ash. But everyone knew that it was only an illusion. The true magic of this broken world lay in the ability of the things it contained to vanish, to become so thoroughly lost, that they might never have existed in th
...more
Maciek
Eh?

I have started reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay with certain expectations - if not great, then at least considerable. I have seen Chabon's name pop up on this site pretty often, reminding me of the fact that I have not yet read anything by him - this seemed like an obvious choice. At 634 pages it stands proudly as the author's magnum opus, and proved to be a critical darling by winning the Pulitzer in 2001. When you can, aim for the greats!

So what's the big deal? The book has
...more
Samantha
Jun 28, 2007 rated it did not like it
I hated this book. For me the characters were not only unlikeable but lifeless. The whole thing was contrived and pretentious and painful to read from start to finish. I am dumbfounded by people's enthusiasm for this book. Dumbfounded.
W
Aug 18, 2007 rated it liked it
"Absolutely, gosh ,wow" (cover quip) on his sentences? Yes, very yes. Chabon can flat out compose sentences. Think Dickens, Pynchon, Tolstoy. But that's it. You keep waiting for the sentences to compile some meaning but they never seem to achieve any depth. He uses the backdrop of the comic book heydays, WWII, and magic acts, his neither here nor there Jewish-ness, to stitch together an overly long book that basically explores the relationship between two male characters who are caricatures them ...more
Sentimental Surrealist
Jul 06, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: collection
Rumor has it that Chabon originally wanted to call this "the Pretty Good, Amazing at the Beginning but Considerably Less Interesting as Our Heroes Devolve Into Cartoon Caricatures and the Reader's Suspension of Disbelief Vanishes Entirely (Not to Mention the Wonky Prose), So in Short, Overlong, At First Pretty Cool but Then Poorly Characterized, and Unevenly Written Adventures of Kavalier and Clay," but the publishing companies vetoed it, so "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay" it is.
Jeff
Apr 19, 2013 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book. It was recommended by friends, it’s about comic books, it has that gold Pulitzer sticker on the cover. What could go wrong?

It started out great; it combined humor, pathos, adventure and a look into the creative process. Like a huge splash, the initial energy created eventually dissipated. The humor became forced, the situations that Chabon put his characters in brought on the head shaking and eye rolling that usually accompanies the transition from the real to
...more
Glenn Sumi
The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay is a great American novel about two cousins whose talents, fevered dreams and crazy obsessions make them legends during the Golden Era of comic books.

Magician-in-training Josef Kavalier escapes Czechoslovakia in 1939 and is taken in by his aunt and his scrappy cousin Sammy Klayman, who live in Brooklyn. Joe hopes his parents and younger brother Thomas will eventually join him, but as the Nazis gain power, the noose, of course, tightens on Europe’s Jews.
...more
Matthew
Jul 28, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this book a couple of years ago because it has been hyped up for years, here are a few of my observations:

- I found this in the Young Adult section of my Library, but I would not classify this as Young Adult at all. It makes me wonder how they determine that.
- I would say that I am fifty-fifty on the hype. It was an interesting story, but not totally enthralling to me. At points it drug on a bit. But, definite points for being unique!
- Overall assessment. Decent, but would I recommend it?
...more
Bradley
Dec 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I was already a big fan of Chabon with The Yiddish Policemen's Union and later, wonderfully, with Wonder Boys. So of course I had to pick up the official "classic" he made a name for himself with!

Tour-de-Force, epic traditional fiction, a whirlwind of blah blah blah. :)

In reality, it really is an awesomely well-rounded character novel set very firmly in the early comics industry and it made the giddy fan-boy in me go all blubbery. :) It was very nice.

The second best part of the text was the abs
...more
J.L.   Sutton
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
“The true magic of this broken world lay in the ability of the things it contained to vanish, to become so thoroughly lost, that they might never have existed in the first place.”

The historian narrator, however, ensures that the ephemeral details aren’t lost. Still, escape is never far from the surface of this narrative. Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay connects the early history of comic books to escape artists and Jewish mysticism. Even with the broad range of subje
...more
Will Byrnes
Oct 25, 2008 rated it liked it
Good, but I did not love it. Nice theming with creating life from clay, and escaping, but I did not find the characters engaging enough. Good payload on early days of comics. .
Pedro
658 pages too long.

I didn’t like this book. I didn’t like it at all.
This is one of those books I never felt like reading. The word adventures in its title being enough to put me off.

This time my gut feeling was right. This really was loathe at first sight. I started it on kindle (300 pages) and finished it on audio (Desperate times call for desperate measures). Boring as a funeral, no matter the way I read it. Well, to be fair, I can recall having had more fun in some funerals than I had whil
...more
PattyMacDotComma
5★+
‘The pins have voices,’ he reminded Josef at last. ‘The pick is a tiny telephone wire. The tips of your fingers have ears.’ Josef took a deep breath, slid the pick that was tipped with a small squiggle into the plug of the lock, and again applied the wrench.”


Josef Kavalier, son of highly-regarded doctors in Prague, is learning how to pick locks. I have put off reviewing this because I felt so bereft when I finished that I didn’t want to admit the story had ended. It feels like a family saga
...more
R.K. Gold
Aug 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was so close to being my favorite book of all time but it just couldn't dethrone A Confederacy of Dunces. Before anyone gets confused, these two books are nothing alike so don't think I'm comparing them. Anyway, the story of Kavalier and Clay is one of family, loss, and self-discovery.

Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay are comic artists in New York City before, during, and after American involvement in World War 2.

The story of Kavalier feels more tied to reality. Throughout the book, he is just l
...more
Shovelmonkey1
Jan 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone looking for a philip roth-lite
Recommended to Shovelmonkey1 by: 1001 books list and a chance encounter in a book shop
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is amazing. Well, some of it is. To be specific I found it fairly amazing up until about page 429. Then it got slightly less amazing which was sad really because, prior to that it was zipping along so nicely like Superman with a new stream-lined cape sliding in and out of the slip stream. After page 429 it became a bit more like Superman trying to erratically jump over tall buildings with Dr Octopus tied to one leg and the Juggernaut tied to the other. ...more
Mattia Ravasi
Dec 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: silver-keys
An amazingly entertaining novel whose majestic architecture, believable characters and supreme atmosphere make the book's flaws that more annoying.
Still, an incredible achievement, and a must-read for everyone who enjoys novels that defy the boundaries of genres. Or comic books. Or great historical contextualizing. Just read the thing, ok?
Elyse  Walters
Laughing....I think this is about the 3rd time -my review has disappeared for this book. I read Michael's book when it was first released. I didn't move for days --its one of the most engaging -exciting fun books I've ever read. There aren't other books that one can compare this too.

The characters are to love.......... "Rosa" is still a girl after my own heart!

Read Violet's review --Its not often she writes an 'elyse' review (its a joke) -- you know...
5 stars!!!!!!!!!!!! (she doesn't dish them o
...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
The Superhero Formerly Known as Prince

description

Michael Chabon's post about Prince on Instagram

Inspirational

"Dearly beloved/We are gathered here today /To get through this thing called life."

I was really speeding through this highly enjoyable novel, until I got distracted when Prince died unexpectedly and I became addicted to CNN's coverage of his death.

In Prince's 1996 interview with Larry King, he questions the value of artistic categories, and then asked how he defines his own music, he says, it's "in
...more
Gary
Apr 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Chabon definately deserved the Pulitzer for this one. I have read several of his books, but this is the only one I've read twice,and I could read it again.

I bought the hardback. Love the dust jacket. I bought the paperback, love the artwork on it,and then much to my dismay....they have reissued it again with another fantastic artwork on the cover,and I am like....do I buy that one too? I've given it as a gift before. Thinking I might get a copy for my oldest son,and maybe print it on my printer
...more
Tricia
Dec 29, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Originally posted in In Lesbian with Books



WOW!
To tell you the truth, I tried reading this book earlier last year (around March—I was supposed to bring this with me to Singapore but settled with The Eyre Affair instead) but I gave up after 3 chapters. I was having hard time adjusting to Chabon's narrative (I think he overused the comma or maybe that's just me).

I don't know how I will start my thoughts about this book because I don't want to start gushing about how great his book is, but really,
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Middlesex
  • The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
  • Lightspeed Magazine, September 2018 (Issue 100)
  • The Corrections
  • Lightspeed Magazine, August 2013
  • Filter House
  • A Visit from the Goon Squad
  • Empire Falls
  • Freedom
  • Uncanny Magazine Issue 24: Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction! Special Issue
  • A Confederacy of Dunces
  • Carter Beats the Devil
  • American Pastoral (The American Trilogy, #1)
  • The World According to Garp
  • White Teeth
  • Everything Is Illuminated
  • Motherless Brooklyn
See similar books…
6,939 followers
Michael Chabon (b. 1963) is an acclaimed and bestselling author whose works include the Pulitzer Prize–winning novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay (2000). Chabon achieved literary fame at age twenty-four with his first novel, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh (1988), which was a major critical and commercial success. He then published Wonder Boys (1995), another bestseller, which was made in ...more

Articles featuring this book

Author, journalist, public intellectual, and (in recent years) comic book writer, Ta-Nehisi Coates is an Extremely Busy Person by any metric, and n...
98 likes · 31 comments
“In the immemorial style of young men under pressure, they decided to lie down for a while and waste time.” 244 likes
“The true magic of this broken world lay in the ability of the things it contained to vanish, to become so thoroughly lost, that they might never have existed in the first place.” 169 likes
More quotes…