WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE • NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • The epic, beloved novel of two boy geniuses dreaming up superheroes in New York’s Golden Age of comics, now with special bonus material by the author—soon to be a Showtime limited series
“It's absolutely gosh-wow, super-colossal—smart, funny, and a continual pleasure to read.”—The Washington Post Book World
Named one of the 10 Best Books of the Decade by Entertainment Weekly • Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize
A “towering, swash-buckling thrill of a book” (Newsweek), hailed as Chabon’s “magnum opus” (The New York Review of Books), The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a triumph of originality, imagination, and storytelling, an exuberant, irresistible novel that begins in New York City in 1939.
A young escape artist and budding magician named Joe Kavalier arrives on the doorstep of his cousin, Sammy Clay. While the long shadow of Hitler falls across Europe, America is happily in thrall to the Golden Age of comic books, and in a distant corner of Brooklyn, Sammy is looking for a way to cash in on the craze. He finds the ideal partner in the aloof, artistically gifted Joe, and together they embark on an adventure that takes them deep into the heart of Manhattan, and the heart of old-fashioned American ambition. From the shared fears, dreams, and desires of two teenage boys, they spin comic book tales of the heroic, fascist-fighting Escapist and the beautiful, mysterious Luna Moth, otherworldly mistress of the night. Climbing from the streets of Brooklyn to the top of the Empire State Building, Joe and Sammy carve out lives, and careers, as vivid as cyan and magenta ink.
Spanning continents and eras, this superb book by one of America’s finest writers remains one of the defining novels of our modern American age.
Winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award and the New York Society Library Book Award
This epic novel about the glory years of the American comic book (1939-1954) fulfills all the promise of Chabon's two earlier novels (The Mysteries of Pittsburgh; Wonder Boys) and two collections of short stories (A Model World; Werewolves in Their Youth), and nearly equals them all together in number of pages. Chabon's prodigious gifts for language, humor and wonderment come to full maturity in this fictional history of the legendary partnership between Sammy Klayman and Josef Kavalier, cousins and creators of the prewar masked comic book hero, the Escapist. Sammy is a gifted inventor of characters and situations who dreams "the usual Brooklyn dreams of flight and transformation and escape." His contribution to the superhero's alter ego, Tom Mayflower, is his own stick legs, a legacy of childhood polio. Joe Kavalier, a former Prague art student, arrives in Brooklyn by way of Siberia, Japan and San Francisco. This improbable route marks only the first in a lifetime of timely escapes. Denied exit from Nazi Czechoslovakia with the visa his family sold its fortune to buy him, Joe, a disciple of Houdini, enlists the aid of his former teacher, the celebrated stage illusionist Bernard Kornblum, in a more desperate escape: crouched inside the coffin transporting Prague's famous golem, Rabbi Loew's miraculous automaton, to the safety of exile in Lithuania. This melodramatic getawayDalmost foiled when the Nazi officer inspecting the corpse decides the suit it's wearing is too fine to buryDis presented with the careful attention to detail of a true-life adventure. Chabon heightens realism through a series of inspired matches: the Escapist, who roams the globe "coming to the aid of those who languish in tyranny's chains," with Joe's powerlessness to rescue his family from Prague; Kavalier & Clay's Empire City with New York City in the early 1940s; and the comic industry's "avidity of unburdening America's youth of the oppressive national mantle of tedium, ten cents at a time," with this fledgling art form's ability to gratify "the lust for power and the gaudy sartorial taste of a race of powerless people with no leave to dress themselves." Well researched and deeply felt, this rich, expansive and hugely satisfying novel will delight a wide range of readers.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Long, but excellent story
If you'd enjoy a reliving of NYC in the 1930's and at the birth of comic books, this book is for you. It is brilliantly written, chock full of delicious metaphors and descriptions. Know that the story is involved and detailed, so be prepared for a long read. But ultimately worth it. Enjoy
I don't understand what took so long. Clearly the author/publisher hates making money. I've been waiting to buy this for my iPad for nearly two years. I wonder how many people just "bought" the version that's been up on Pirate Bay, when they saw that this novel, universally recognized as one of the great American novels of the 21st century, was not for sale in any digital format. Even now, we have to wait for a June release?!? What good reason could they possibly have?
Finishing this. Ok was one of the most painful reading experiences I have ever had