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

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  168,044 Ratings  ·  10,066 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 Tracy was shot down in the somewhere in the South Pacific. They never do explain how the Golem's remains reached Joe at Rosa and Sam's house.
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
6,770 books — 27,798 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
53,210 books — 186,051 voters


More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
|
Filter
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?
Fabian
Jan 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Only an 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 for
...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 ...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
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 ...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
...more
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
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
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. .
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
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
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
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 "ins
...more
Diana D
Jan 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
След всички драматични книги, които прочетох досега, имах нужда от нещо необременяващо, свежо и същевременно задълбочено. И го получих от Шейбон с  " Невероятните приключения на Кавалиър и Клей". Останах очарована, меко казано. Описателният стил на Шейбон ме заплени. Радвам се, че разчупих стереотипа си чрез тази книга. Бях малко резервирана, заради очакванията ми, че ще се доближава до комикс, но няма нищо общо с това, само бегла препратка. По- точно, комиксите и рекламата в книгата са един вид ...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 J
...more
Ellie
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabonis such a wonderful book that I was sorry to finish it. I read as slowly as I could, savoring the words, the characters, and the story, but sadly I finally finished it.

Joe Kavalier is a Jewish refugee from Prague who dreams of bringing his family to America and saving them from Hitler. He is also a trained escape artist, in the tradition of Houdini (also Jewish). He lives with his cousin, Sammy Clay, in Brooklyn. Together (with Sammy
...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
lorinbocol
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: all-american
d'artagnan ora si fa chiamare joe. e non entra nel proprio futuro in sella a un ronzino, ma in treno e in nave dopo una fuga rocambolesca dalla praga occupata fino a new york, attraverso lituania, giappone e san francisco, per non privarsi proprio di nulla. anche qui avrà gloria e amore, sarà intemperante, guascone e idealista e non terrà mai del tutto a bada la propria ribalderia. e poi ci sono altri giovani moschettieri (uno importante, per il resto gregari) e con qualche aggiustamento un capi ...more
Katja
Jul 27, 2007 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: people who "just don't get comics". and people who do
Shelves: meh
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
...more
Carol
Mar 31, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I read books, I try to see the whole picture of what the writer is trying to express, not just words on page after page of text. This book is one of the ones you just have to do that and then spend some time pondering the message that it has. The Escapist story is one that I believe we can all relate to at one time or another in our lives. We tend to think we can somehow "escape" our troubles by either physically leaving a bothersome situation or changing our circumstances. The Amazing Adve ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
  • The Fortress of Solitude
  • Elbow Room
  • Carter Beats the Devil
  • The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love
  • In This Our Life
  • The Collected Stories of Jean Stafford
  • Rabbit Is Rich (Rabbit Angstrom, #3)
  • Guard of Honor
  • Martin Dressler: The Tale of an American Dreamer
  • His Family
  • The Town
  • The Edge of Sadness
  • Old School
  • Scarlet Sister Mary
  • The Able McLaughlins (The McLaughlins, #1)
  • Lucy
  • Pastoralia
  • A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain
6,055 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 mad ...more
“In the immemorial style of young men under pressure, they decided to lie down for a while and waste time.” 226 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.” 161 likes
More quotes…