Book Review: THE AMAZING ADVENTURES of KAVALIER & CLAY, by Michael Chabon

I never quite know how to take it when somebody admits that, while they didn't enjoy a particular book, I might. In the case of KAVALIER & CLAY, two separate people, in two very different circumstances, said exactly that: "I didn't care for it much, but you might."


The funny thing is, I really did. I loved KAVALIER & CLAY, and could not put it down for all of the four days it took me to tear through the whole book--the characters were completely engrossing, even when they (quite realistically) did things that I did not agree with and rather wished that they hadn't done. The scope of the book is tremendous, and when Chabon could have potentially lost my attention (Pearl Harbor) he held me fast by introducing a whole other fascinating plot line.

KAVALIER & CLAY is chock full of comic books--the Golden Age of, the history of, the Rise & Fall of comic books--and vivid depictions of the artwork of Joe Kavalier, so beautifully described that I could see the panels of The Escapist and Luna Moth.

For this big, all-reaching book Chabon was awarded the Pulitzer, and though I loved KAVALIER & CLAY and could not find a thing to criticize, I wonder what it was he was given the Pulitzer for--I'd be curious to find the critieria the judges used, because I was not certain that KAVALIER & CLAY was that grand. Perhaps it was something about capturing America in the midst of a war, and chronicling the attitude of Americans through the stories they choose to read--maybe something about an immigrant succeeding in America (living the Great American Dream), but at a great cost?

In which case, then yes, KAVALIER & CLAY was quite deserving.


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