The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

By Michael Chabon,

Book cover of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

Book description

Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 'The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay' is a heart-wrenching story of escape, love and comic-book heroes set in Prague, New York and the Arctic - from the author of 'Wonder Boys'.

One night in 1939, Josef Kavalier shuffles into his cousin…

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Why read it?

7 authors picked The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book is broad in scope and covers a lot of fascinating territory.

It is about the immigrant experience, particularly that of Jewish people who came to America to escape Nazi persecution. It is a war novel that is also about creativity and entrepreneurship. It is a story about marginalized people, whether because of religion or due to sexual preference. It is about family and provides love stories as well.

Officially, it's about two cousins who go into the comic book publishing business when this was a new endeavor, long before the MCU began cranking out movies featuring superheroes annually.…

For those interested in a compelling work of fiction built loosely around Nazism and the occult, Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is the perfect novel.

Whether it’s one of the protagonists, a young Jewish magician, escaping Nazi-occupied Central Europe in the coffin of the “Golem of Prague” or the eponymous cousins finding success with their own comic book series infused by contemporary esoterica, Kavalier & Clay evokes the world in which young, first and second generation Jewish immigrants from Central and Eastern Europe created the Marvel and DC superheroes and super(natural) villains, often allied with the…

From Eric's list on Nazism and the occult.

Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay are cousins, two young men working in the Golden Age of comic books. As tensions rise in Europe, Joe and Sam create the Escapist, a superhero whose adventures put him on the front lines of the culture war brewing in American comics. Chabon’s book is a beautiful, dramatic story about family and struggle. It’s also meticulously researched, providing a remarkable insight into the early days of comic books and giving the reader a glimpse into the world that would create the superhero genre that has become so prevalent in media today.

This novel won the Pulitzer Prize for a reason. It’s a remarkable story about family, friendship, identity, America, and so many other things. Michael Chabon, a bona fide comic book fan, set it in the early days of the industry, weaving in real and fictionalized versions of its history. The book is highly recommended to anyone, but it’s a must-read for anyone who considers themselves a real comic book fan.

From Roy's list on comic book history.

For me, no book connects more wonderfully the themes of show business and history than The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. Opening with the daring escape of a young Jewish magician from the clutches of Hitler to unite with his equally young cousin, a devotee of the burgeoning comic book craze, in America, this novel is about as theatrical as it gets. The two teenagers scale the heights of invention creating new comic book heroes who enthrall America as World War 2 brings the earth crashing all about them. It’s thrilling, compelling, funny, utterly engrossing and one of…

From Judy's list on embrace show business and history.

Another Pulitzer Prize winner, but this time there’s nothing short about this story - it’s epic! To quote the flap: “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…

I wasn't a fan of comics growing up, and I never met Lev Gleason—he died five years before I was born.  My mother would tell me stories about her flamboyant, free-spending uncle from New York City, and I especially loved hearing about Uncle Lev's Day: once a year, Lev would drive to my mother's house near Boston, pile her and her friends into his gleaming aqua Packard, and head for the mall, where everyone was free to buy whatever their hearts desired--courtesy of Uncle Lev. He was my mother's Emperor of Ice Cream!  I knew he had made a fortune…

From Brett's list on the history of golden age comics.

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