The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay has taken me a long time to finish. It’s lengthy – 636 pages. I’ve been reading it on my lunch break and on days where my homework is light. (I can’t wait to graduate in 19 days!) This book was briefly mentioned on the first episode of the Get Booked podcast which is put together by some of the wonderful people from Book Riot.

This novel is not something I would typically read. It is actually about the rise of the comic book industry just before World War II. There is a lot of mention of Jewish culture, including The Golem, something that I have been interested in since I read and wrote a paper on the book, The Golem and the Jinni. I think what I appreciated most about this book was how it never got stale. 636 pages is a long time to keep a reader engaged, but Chabon is able to do that by winding in new characters and incorporating the historical events of the time period. In addition to the rise of comic books is the start of the war, Kavalier’s personal convictions of having come to America without his family, Clay’s attempts at finding who he really is, both men are seeking to make a name for themselves. I appreciated a strong female character named Rosa who drew comic books even after she was married and had a child. Rosa helps both Kavalier and Clay process their stories, and she becomes an artist, as well. I was not anticipating that in a book set in that time period.

Chabon’s writing is vivid and allows the reader to see the characters of these comic books come to life. It’s a fun book to read, and it won a Pulitzer for goodness sake!

I am trying to determine why each book was added to the books-to-read-in-your-20s list. This is certainly a coming of age story for the two main characters. It brings you through a spectrum of emotions – it’s warm, it’s adventurous (hence the title), it’s sad, and, at it’s core, it’s about family (and how dysfunctional and wonderful family can be). And, I guess that’s what our 20s are all about, too.

As I have said before, I love used books because you never know what you’ll find in them. Even library books can come with some treasures. Thanks to whomever checked this book out before I did and left me a bookmark!

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