The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay (with Bonus Content): A Novel

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The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay (with Bonus Content): A Novel

by Michael Chabon

Random House Publishing Group | June 12, 2012 | Trade Paperback

The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay (with Bonus Content): A Novel is rated 4.7778 out of 5 by 9.
WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
 
The beloved, award-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a Michael Chabon masterwork, is the American epic of two boy geniuses named Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay. Now with special bonus material by Michael Chabon.
 
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.
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize
 
Winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award and the New York Society Library Book Award
 
Named one of the 10 Best Books of the Decade by Entertainment Weekly

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 704 pages, 8.18 × 5.48 × 1.44 in

Published: June 12, 2012

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0812983580

ISBN - 13: 9780812983586

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dear Kavalier And Clay: A Letter From A Fan Dear Mr Kavalier and Mr Clay I would like to start off by saying what an incredible honour it is, as a life long fan of The Escapist, to write to both of my childhood heroes. My excitement is only outmatched by my recent completion of that fantastic autobiography, and winner of the coveted Pulitzer Prize, all about your lives and creative history. It is truly a wonderful book of pulse pounding thrills and incredible human drama, with tons of behind the scene craziness. But darn it all, I still wonder how The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay, written and researched by the fantastic Mr. Michael Chabon ever came out. And I am not just talking about its over 600 hefty pages of glory, or the occasional informative footnote, but the amount of information, both private and public, that you both reveal is astonishing. I gobbled this book down, all because it told the complete story of how you, Mr Joseph Kavalier and My Sam Clay, created the greatest comic book character of them all, The Escapist. From that first fateful meeting, late one night in 1930’s New York, to your walk the next day that gave the world your greatest gift, almost everything is chronicled. In fact the massive detail put into virtually all aspects of how The Escapist, and almost all of your other wonderful creations, came about is fantastic. Even the parts about the ones you helped make are amazing. I knew your fingerprints were on those characters as well, just like the legends and lore had suggested! And the astonishing, prolonged, flashback telling the often hinted about tale of how Mr. Kavalier escaped the prosecution of his people in Europe, and the long and winding road that brought you to your cousins, Mr Clay’s doorstep. So many psychological implications to all to all these sensational adventures! My mind raced to connect the dots to all your other published works, just to try to guess their origins. And Mr. Clay, the smaller flashbacks about your time growing up in New York were equally thrilling, with the performing aspect you imputed into The Escapist being part of your DNA. The casual fan might attribute this to Mr. Kavalier and his stage magician training, but only diehards like myself can see where it really is from. After the play is all set and your famous character is about to premiere, Mr. Chabon does the mighty yet again by gently moving us fans forward in the narratives in your impressive lives. All these myriad and uncanny details of those early fun adventures in that oh so young industry brings about the most fantastic tingles in my Geek senses. While the comics are undoubtedly thrilling, these true life, and sometimes two-fisted tales, of life before Pearl Harbour provides so much context for the unparalleled creativity you both exhibited. The old and familiar adage that real life is stranger than fiction becomes even more apparent as time marches on in your lives. I was thoroughly caught off guard by all the later developments in your journeys. By the end of this suspenseful trip so many secrets and lies are revealed, some predating the start of your marvelous collaborations, that it is amazing this story is not labeled as fiction. Much of the credit for the verisimilitude of your biography goes to Mr. Chabon. The author has done a wonderful job researching all these thousands of facts, getting everyone to open up so very much, and weaving it all together into a complete, detailed, and metaphor laded narrative. Mr. Chabon must be a real detective, comics piled up all the place, in order to get all this geek history right. Some of my friends have argued with me, both online and off, that your tale is very similar, at the beginning at least, to the famous story of the creators of Superman. While I do see some parallels with Siegel and Shuster, anyone who gets past the first hundred pages or so can tell the difference. No slight to those mighty giants, both no longer with us unfortunately, but Kavalier and Clay are more a pure world parables of what might have been. Or does that explanation too fanboyishness? With all that said, I still greatly enjoyed the crossover event in the late 1970’s between The Escapist and Superman. It was wonderful for you two to return and work on the comic with Siegel and Shuster, all to tie into the movie featuring these wonderful characters. And Paul Newman was such a fantastic Escapist! Having Tracy Bacon play Max Mayflower was also a stroke of genius and brought tears to this fan’s eyes. Yours Sincerely, Scoopriches Author’s Note: This letter was delivered to me, the wrong Scoopriches. It came by Owl Mail, which popped up through a wormhole generated by a bean grown by a giant. It is obviously from a different dimension, possibly Earth-Prime, because on our Earth The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier And Clay by Michael Chabon is listed as fiction. But we all know, this entire tale happened to someone in somewhere at someplace, don’t we?
Date published: 2013-05-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from If you loved this... I have to mention that the graphic novel The Escapists, isbn 9781595823618, is based on/inspired by this book and endorsed by Chabon. It was well loved by everyone in my graphic novel/comic book club. I have not read Kavalier and Clay yet but I will since everyone in the club that has already read it said that I HAVE to because it is amazing.
Date published: 2011-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from "The elegant black-and-white ship, all 24,170 tons of it, loomed like a mountain in a dinner jacket" Earlier this year I read a collection of essays by Nora Ephron, I Feel Bad About My Neck, that includes a curious piece entitled “On Rapture.” It begins “I’ve just surfaced from spending several days in a state of rapture – with a book. I loved this book. I loved every second of it. I was transported into its world…” (117). The book is, of course, Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. I had ordered it immediately but waited to start reading, wanting to make sure I had time to take in this enticing volume of 636 pages in one continuous stretch. I put it off long enough for a friend to read it first. The review was salutary: “It’s lovely.” I did not manage to resist temptation; I couldn't wait any longer. I put everything on hold and jumped in devouring it within a week. The verdict is in: I love this novel. It would easily rank among the very best I have ever read. Chabon is an extraordinarily gifted writer and he creates this world that is filled with contrasts, hope, and longing. In its essence it is a novel about two young boys who create a comic book in New York City in the 1940s. There is a love interest and there are a few bad guys. Yet beyond the magical embrace of this childhood passion, Chabon also captures the awkwardness and uncertainties and courage of being a young man in a conflicted world. He does not shy away from the horror that Joe Kavalier faced as a Jewish artist who had been smuggled out of Nazi-invaded Prague yet nothing it done with a heavy hand. It is a most tender and light-hearted story of affection, love, friendship, and imagination. And there’s even a golem! * * * “Never worry about what you are escaping from,” he said. “Reserve your anxieties for what you are escaping to.” (37) “People notice only what you tell them to notice,” he said. “And then only if you remind them.” (60)
Date published: 2008-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Best book I've Read this Year. Chabon has jumped in 3 books to the top five of my must read authors. Gentlemen of the Road was my first, which I found thoroughly enjoyable followed by his non-fiction Maps & Legends which I read because of a review. But neither prepared me for how wonderful a book this was. I have looked at this book in the Chapters and elsewhere for years. I have picked it up, but neither the cover or the blurbs, which just rave about it, told enough toconvince me to read it. But I enjoyed Gentlemen so much I thought I try it. Quickly it became like glue to my hand. A story about comic writers in the 30s and 40s shouldn't be so exciting. Chabon's grasp of the time, the people and the industry just leaps off the page at you. There is no false note anywhere in the book and if I didn't know better I would expect to find reprints of the Escapist in the graphic novel section of Chapters. So well written that you expect these characters to actually have existed. Captures the essence of the best biography, with footnotes and all. I will be pushing this book for years to come, read it and enjoy.
Date published: 2008-09-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from now one of my favorites Brilliant. Longing. Tragedy. Mythology. Complexity. Dreamlike. Memorable. Engrossing. Neurotic. Delicious. I cannot do this book justice. Many aspects of the storyline based on the lives of actual comic-book creators Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, Jerry Siegel, Joe Shuster, Joe Simon, Will Eisner, and Jim Steranko. This book has stayed with me for quite a while. I already look forward to reading it again.
Date published: 2007-04-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read even for non-comic book readers My brother, who is seventeen years younger than myself, lent me this book. It's one of the few he's decided to read from end to end, so I took it very seriously when he recommended it, and I'm so glad he did! It's a great read even for someone that never got into comics and takes you all sorts of places you never expected the novel to go. Pick it up!
Date published: 2006-06-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A must-read for comic fans This book is for anyone whose face lights up with recognition at the names Jack Kirby, Will Eisner or Stan Lee. Kavalier and Clay is fiction with the weight of well-researched history, about a fascinating era of American culture. Chabon truly loves comics, and it shows through in every page.
Date published: 2005-01-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Golden Age Novel Having been an avid graphic novel (comic book) reader for many years, I have had the opportunity to read some of the greatest stories of all time. From Neil Gaiman's Sandman to DC's Kingdom Come, and Alan Moore's Watchmen, there have been some great stories. Kavalier and Clay will interest any avid comic book reader for the method of story telling, if not only the many comic book references. In some parts, the novel seems to be scripting a comic book in the same fashion as greats like Frank Miller do, and in others, the tales of starting a comic book company in the 1930s are very researched, and give insight to this history of comic book literature. I recommend this book to any comic book fan.
Date published: 2001-03-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love in the Age of Superheroes A stunning novel of loss and redemption played out against the backdrop of America in the 30's and 40's, the first Golden Age of the comic book. Sam Clay, and his cousin, Joe Kavalier (a refugee from the Nazis) develop The Escapist, a superhero who combines the full panoply of super abilities with the genius of the escape artist and battles, the world over, for liberty. The Escapist manages, in his fictional battles against the Nazis, to achieve what Joe so desperately wants: the rescue of his family from the Holocaust; while back in the real world Sam and Joe grow to adult-hood and come to terms with the limitless possibilities and possible limitations of the power of love and family.
Date published: 2000-12-27

– More About This Product –

The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay (with Bonus Content): A Novel

by Michael Chabon

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 704 pages, 8.18 × 5.48 × 1.44 in

Published: June 12, 2012

Publisher: Random House Publishing Group

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0812983580

ISBN - 13: 9780812983586

About the Book

The beloved, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel is a masterwork by Chabon. It is the American epic of two boy geniuses named Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay and their quest to become American icons in the comic book world. Now with special bonus material by Chabon.

Read from the Book

Part One--The Escape Artist In later years, holding forth to an interviewer or to an audience of aging fans at a comic book convention, Sam Clay liked to declare, apropos of his and Joe Kavalier''s greatest creation, that back when he was a boy, sealed and hog-tied inside the airtight vessel known as Brooklyn, New York, he had been haunted by dreams of Harry Houdini. "To me, Clark Kent in a phone booth and Houdini in a packing crate, they were one and the same thing," he would learnedly expound at WonderCon or Angouleme or to the editor of Comics Journal. "You weren''t the same person when you came out as when you went in. Houdini''s first magic act, you know, back when he was just getting started. It was called ''Metamorphosis: It was never just a question of escape. It was also a question of transformation." The truth was that, as a kid, Sammy had only a casual interest, at best, in Harry Houdini and his legendary feats; his great heroes were Nikola Tesla, Louis Pasteur, and Jack London. Yet his account of his role-of the role of his own imagination-in the Escapist''s birth, like all of his best fabulations, rang true. His dreams had always been Houdiniesque: they were the dreams of a pupa struggling in its blind cocoon, mad for a taste of light and air. Houdini was a hero to little men, city boys, and Jews; Samuel Louis Klayman was all three. He was seventeen when the adventures began: bigmouthed, perhaps not quite as quick on his feet as he liked to im
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From the Publisher

WINNER OF THE PULITZER PRIZE
 
The beloved, award-winning The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a Michael Chabon masterwork, is the American epic of two boy geniuses named Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay. Now with special bonus material by Michael Chabon.
 
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.
 
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
 
Finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, National Book Critics Circle Award, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize
 
Winner of the Bay Area Book Reviewers Award and the New York Society Library Book Award
 
Named one of the 10 Best Books of the Decade by Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, Wonder Boys, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Summerland (a novel for children), The Final Solution, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, and Gentlemen of the Road, as well as the short story collections A Model World and Werewolves in Their Youth and the essay collections Maps and Legends and Manhood for Amateurs. He is the chairman of the board of the MacDowell Colony. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.

Editorial Reviews

“It’s absolutely gosh-wow, super-colossal—smart, funny, and a continual pleasure to read.”—The Washington Post Book World
 
“The depth of Chabon’s thought, his sharp language, his inventiveness, and his ambition make this a novel of towering achievement.”—The New York Times Book Review
 
“I’m not sure what the exact definition of a ‘great American novel’ is, but I’m pretty sure that Michael Chabon’s sprawling, idiosyncratic, and wrenching new book is one.”—New York
 
“The themes are masterfully explored, leaving the book’s sense of humor intact and characters so tightly developed they could walk off the page.”—Newsweek
 
“A page-turner in the most expansive sense of the word: its gripping plot pushes readers forward. . . . Chabon is a reader’s writer, with sentences so cozy they’ll wrap you up and kiss you goodnight.”—Chicago Tribune