Customer Reviews for

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Average Rating 4.5
( 182 )
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5 Star

(127)

4 Star

(35)

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(13)

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(5)

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(2)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

Amazing certainly describes Kavalier & Clay

If you want to indulge yourself in Escapism at its fullest, definitely read "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay". This book is so spell-binding, you will sometimes forget you are reading a work of fiction. The characters come to life on the pages of the book, as ...
If you want to indulge yourself in Escapism at its fullest, definitely read "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay". This book is so spell-binding, you will sometimes forget you are reading a work of fiction. The characters come to life on the pages of the book, as well as in the comic books Joe and Sammy write. At times you will sympathize with Joe, then yell at Anapol, be mystified by Rosa, and hope for Tommy. All in all, this is an utterly fascinating book! Be prepared to have a dictionary near you at all times!

posted by 775992 on January 19, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Good main narrative, likeable characters, but way too fragmented

Amazing Adventures is a big, sprawling story about two Jewish comic book artists living in 1940s New York City, cousins Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay. Joe is an apprentice magician and Houdini aficionado who uses his skills to escape from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia and ...
Amazing Adventures is a big, sprawling story about two Jewish comic book artists living in 1940s New York City, cousins Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay. Joe is an apprentice magician and Houdini aficionado who uses his skills to escape from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia and arrive in America. His cousin Sammy, a native Brooklynite, is a small kid with a gimpy leg and vast imagination. Sammy quickly befriends Joe and shares with him his enthusiasm for comic books. With Sammy's ideas and Joe's natural artistic talent, they begin creating their own successful comics, including The Escapist, a superhero who 'comes to the rescue of those who toil in the chains of tyranny and injustice' and represents Sammy's desire to be strong and Joe's hatred of Nazism. Escapism is one of the main themes, and probably the only theme that holds together well in this book. Joe escapes from the Nazis and later tries to escape from his grief and responsibilities. Sammy escapes into marriage to hide his true desires, and his wife Rosa escapes into her work (inking romance comics) to forget the man she really loves and believes is lost (Joe). And comic books themselves represent an escape. But the other themes disparately never link up. The plot twists, without any reason or closure, so it feels like nothing is happening. The book plugs along solidly in the first half, but then quickly falls apart before the reader feels any satisfaction. The teenage boys (to whom the book devotes 400 pages to) suddenly age by years every chapter. Suddenly, inexplicably, Joe is a WWII stationed in Antarctica; a story that begins out of nowhere and ends just as it gets interesting. We learn the fate of Sammy's lover (the development of their relationship of which took 100 pages) in one sentence. 12 years suddenly passes and we are introduced to Rosa and Sammy's (nay Joe's) 12-year old son. It seems Chabon has a lot of ideas, and rushes to start one before finishing another. Interesting events do take place, but because they aren't fully fleshed out they seem disconnected and pointless. Another problem is Chabon's own superfluous style. Everything has to be described with long metaphors; sometimes the simplest declaration is drawn out to a page or two, making Amazing Adventures a very long and arduous read. That, coupled with his chunky, clunky storyline, makes this book, weighing in at 656 pages, extremely frustrating. I can see how this book could become popular. In contains a well-researched, nostalgic look at old-school New York life, historical references, and a lot of emotion and romance. The main narrative - two boys creating a superhero to compensate for their physical and political desires - is very appealing. But after finally putting this book down, all I could think of was: 'So?'

posted by Anonymous on January 15, 2002

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2009

    Amazing certainly describes Kavalier & Clay

    If you want to indulge yourself in Escapism at its fullest, definitely read "The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay". This book is so spell-binding, you will sometimes forget you are reading a work of fiction. The characters come to life on the pages of the book, as well as in the comic books Joe and Sammy write. At times you will sympathize with Joe, then yell at Anapol, be mystified by Rosa, and hope for Tommy. All in all, this is an utterly fascinating book! Be prepared to have a dictionary near you at all times!

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 17, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I'll Never Look at Comic Books the Same Way

    I suppose given this is my first book by Chabon, I shouldn't yet say I have a new favorite writer, but I can say after this one I want to go out and read all this others. First, the author is wonderful at conjuring up WWII era New York City--especially as a native New Yorker I loved how he took me to that time. The novel also somehow in its characters and events gives me a new understanding of what went into the imagining of comic books from the feats of Houdini to the yearning to punch Hitler in the face. It makes me care and feel for the characters, particularly Joe--you feel his desperation trying to get his family--his Jewish family--out of Nazi Europe. As many takes on the Holocaust as I've seen, I can't recall a work that shows you this aspect of it--not of those trying to get out but those trying to get them in and those attempts lend a great deal of suspense and later poignancy. Then there's the style--I can't say enough about the style. Reading I'm reminded of some virtuoso on the piano or violin miraculously playing some work by Liszt. The work is in done in omniscient voice--rarely seen in the last century and so rarely done well, but here it's a great deal of the pleasure in reading this story--beautifully, sometimes sensuously written, insightful with flashes of humor, a wonderful imagination and the sort of story you're sorry to come to an end. I left it feeling this was a story for the ages--but it was something else I've rarely read in so-called "literary fiction"--great fun to read.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2006

    I loved it.

    I have never been an enormous fan of comic books, yet when a friend of mine recommended this novel to me, I took him up on it. I found it to be an amazing, incredibly human story. The description was vivid and realistic, easily understood, yet the author used words in ways I had never seen before. The characters, I found, were as real to me as my friends, and I found the well-placed comic relief a welcome break from the depth of the story-who would have thought, in a book about comics? As much as I would love to keep this book to myself, I feel it deserves every ounce of praise it receives, and I think that every award it was given could not do it justice.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2011

    This book is a must read.

    This book blew my mind. From page one, Chabon had me hooked with his skillful writing and witty plot. The book was a joy ride: it had its high points, its low points, is calm points, but never was it a boring read. Sitting down to read for ten minutes led to an hour long reading extravaganza; I couldn't put the book down. Now, while the book does specifically revolve around Joe Kavalier, the title is still completely valid. Sam Klayman (Clay) fills a unique and important role from page one, and especially so going into the end of the book (don't worry, I wont ruin it for you).

    The thing that sealed the deal for me in this book is Chabon's amazing use of his knowledge of the Jewish culture, New York, and the time period. It's a perfectly crafted novel with detail after detail leaving no holes in the plot. Never once did I have to scratch my head and say, "This makes no sense." Everything was masterfully pieced together to create a phenomenal quilt of literature.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    In summary, the best book I've ever read.

    An amazing tale that grips you, pulls you in, and makes you care about the times, the characters, their history, and their future. This is the best book I've ever read.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 7, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Worthy of all the praise and prizes

    An epic tale of a partnership across the span of history, rich with details of the birth and evolution of the comic book. Unforgettable characters along with suspense and magical wonder.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 19, 2005

    The Great American Novel?

    I confess. I have never ventured too far into the pool of comic books, save for a trip to the theatre to catch the latest summer blockbuster. I randomly picked this book off the shelf while roaming through the local library, and I have been congratulating myself on having such fine-tuned intuition ever since. This books is one of the best--the closest thing to the 'Great American novel' that I have ever read. The prose flows with almost poetic quality, and the narrative is so beyond engaging that it is haunting. Despite being over 600 pages long, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay never loses its footing. It's a sharp, witty, and heartbreaking book worthy of an active, thoughtful reader with an addiction to erudition. Michael Chabon is a master storyteller, and this may very well be his magnum opus.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2012

    Great storytelling. I was completely drawn in to the world crea

    Great storytelling. I was completely drawn in to the world created in this book, and it has stayed with me in the years since I first read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Kavalier and Clay moved into My Top 5 Favorite Book List

    Kavalier and Clay is an "Amazing" read! Loved it from the first page, carried it around the house with me, laughed out loud, shook my head and cried. Most of all did not want it to end. I savored the last pages. Do yourself a favor and read it soon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 14, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Fun and interesting

    I love historical fiction. This book was a fun read, fast paced story yet also gave perspective to the far reaching sadness caused by the Third Reich. The characters were simultanously funny and sad.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2002

    Good main narrative, likeable characters, but way too fragmented

    Amazing Adventures is a big, sprawling story about two Jewish comic book artists living in 1940s New York City, cousins Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay. Joe is an apprentice magician and Houdini aficionado who uses his skills to escape from Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia and arrive in America. His cousin Sammy, a native Brooklynite, is a small kid with a gimpy leg and vast imagination. Sammy quickly befriends Joe and shares with him his enthusiasm for comic books. With Sammy's ideas and Joe's natural artistic talent, they begin creating their own successful comics, including The Escapist, a superhero who 'comes to the rescue of those who toil in the chains of tyranny and injustice' and represents Sammy's desire to be strong and Joe's hatred of Nazism. Escapism is one of the main themes, and probably the only theme that holds together well in this book. Joe escapes from the Nazis and later tries to escape from his grief and responsibilities. Sammy escapes into marriage to hide his true desires, and his wife Rosa escapes into her work (inking romance comics) to forget the man she really loves and believes is lost (Joe). And comic books themselves represent an escape. But the other themes disparately never link up. The plot twists, without any reason or closure, so it feels like nothing is happening. The book plugs along solidly in the first half, but then quickly falls apart before the reader feels any satisfaction. The teenage boys (to whom the book devotes 400 pages to) suddenly age by years every chapter. Suddenly, inexplicably, Joe is a WWII stationed in Antarctica; a story that begins out of nowhere and ends just as it gets interesting. We learn the fate of Sammy's lover (the development of their relationship of which took 100 pages) in one sentence. 12 years suddenly passes and we are introduced to Rosa and Sammy's (nay Joe's) 12-year old son. It seems Chabon has a lot of ideas, and rushes to start one before finishing another. Interesting events do take place, but because they aren't fully fleshed out they seem disconnected and pointless. Another problem is Chabon's own superfluous style. Everything has to be described with long metaphors; sometimes the simplest declaration is drawn out to a page or two, making Amazing Adventures a very long and arduous read. That, coupled with his chunky, clunky storyline, makes this book, weighing in at 656 pages, extremely frustrating. I can see how this book could become popular. In contains a well-researched, nostalgic look at old-school New York life, historical references, and a lot of emotion and romance. The main narrative - two boys creating a superhero to compensate for their physical and political desires - is very appealing. But after finally putting this book down, all I could think of was: 'So?'

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2014

    A great readThis book is written A great read...enjoy

    This book is written with compassion and is well researched

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 13, 2014

    Thx

    Hi Grace wanna chat?

    *by you-know-who;) *

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2014

    Twin daggers

    |::::::::::::::::::|========>
    |::::::::::::::::::|========>
    By grace
    PS welome cade

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2014

    Not a compelling read . . .

    Interesting subject, but this book did not hold my interest. It could have been a lot shorter.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2013

    Heartbreaking, nostalgic and engaging, this book takes you on a

    Heartbreaking, nostalgic and engaging, this book takes you on a journey through comics history from the perspective of those who were there. The characters are beautifully written and the story sticks with you. One of my favourite novels ever.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 25, 2013

    A wonderful book that transports you

    There is a wonderful narrative style that plays out in this book which enhances the story of two artists, their hopes and dreams and the backdrop of New York City. A great read you won't regret.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    Best Book I've Read in a Long Time

    Chabon's excellent story telling and character development skills are on full display in this wonderful, well written tale. I couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next. It is truly an amazing adventure.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    has to go with a few all time favorites

    the comic book industry has always had a fascination for me.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2013

    Book you can't put down

    Fantastic book that keeps you reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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