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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: 09/28/10
Ever stall on reading a book because you're in a mental tug of war? That's what happened with me and The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. On the one hand, I loved the cover and the synopsis sounded exactly like my kind of book. On the other hand, I'd struggled with The Yiddish Policeman's Union and was reluctant to try another 700 page book by the same author. It took a bunch of my twitter book buddies asking if I'd read it with them to finally make up my mind!
Joe Kavalier, a Czech refugee and his New York born cousin Sam Clay collaborate on a new comic book series, The Escapist. The book takes them through the early days of the comic, through the Golden Age of comics through the witch hunt that was Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency hearings regarding comic books and juvenile crime. While completely fictional, these cousins were inspired by real life teams: Jerry Siegel and Joseph Shuster (creators of Superman), Joe Simon and Jack Kirby (creators of Captain America and others), Will Eisner, Jim Steranko among others. These real life artists do make cameos in the novel and serve as inspiration and competition for our two unlikely heroes.
Although I was expecting to put a solid three weeks or so into the book, I ended up tearing through the tome over the course of a weekend. I loved the setting, the semi fictionalized history of the American comic industry, and Cay's struggle with his sexual identity. The only way the book could have been better would have been with some panels from The Escapist.
Comment #1: Wednesday, September, 29, 2010 at 18:53:12
I enjoyed this book too, but somehow, I don't remember the details. Maybe I should reread it again.
Comment #2: Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 20:06:58
You should if you want to. Happy reading.