The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
(with bonus content)

80%

27 Critic Reviews

A rousing labor of love by a major contemporary author, Kavalier & Clay reveals that sometimes the horrors generated by popular artists can both reflect and ricochet.
-AV Club

Synopsis

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 Michael Chabon

See more books from this Author
Michael Chabon is the bestselling and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of the Mysteries of Pittsburgh, A Model World, Wonder Boys, Werewolves In Their Youth, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, The Final Solution, The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, Maps & Legends, Gentlemen of the Road, and the middle-grade book Summerland. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, the novelist Ayelet Waldman, and their children.
 
Published June 12, 2012 by Random House. 658 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, History, Action & Adventure, Humor & Entertainment, Business & Economics, Education & Reference, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Gay & Lesbian, Mystery, Thriller & Suspense. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
All: 27 | Positive: 26 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2010

A stroke of sheer conceptual genius links the themes of illusion and escape with that of the European immigrant experience of America in this huge, enthralling third novel from the author...A tale of two magnificently imagined characters, and a plaintive love song to...the fractious ethnic energy of New York City a half century ago.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Stephanie Merritt on Jul 08 2001

Chabon has created a novel that aspires to the historical sweep of DeLillo's Underworld. Taking a staple of American popular culture as its enduring image...Wide-ranging, inventive and entirely compelling, Kavalier and Clay deserves a place alongside the best of recent American fiction.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Lexy Bloom on Oct 15 2000

Suffice to say that Joe and Sam and Rosa retain their own demons; the war takes its toll on all of them. But what remains impressive about this novel is Chabon's ability to find a comic book character who so describes the time and place about which he writes.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Stephanie Merritt on Jul 08 2001

Wide-ranging, inventive and entirely compelling, Kavalier and Clay deserves a place alongside the best of recent American fiction.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Lexy Bloom on Oct 14 2000

To divulge any more would be cruel. Suffice to say that Joe and Sam and Rosa retain their own demons; the war takes its toll on all of them. But what remains impressive about this novel is Chabon's ability to find a comic book character who so describes the time and place about which he writes.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Daniel Haymes on Mar 12 2010

Chabon's technique is finely tuned with this novel. His prose is verbose but eloquent, and direct or vivid when he needs to be. There was not one page without a wonderful and uniquely written sentence. He is a writer's writer.

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Blog Critics

Good
Reviewed by Daniel Haymes on Mar 12 2010

It is a master work in story, scope and technique. Even at more than 600 pages, it is one of those rare gems that I quite simply did not want to end...A truly remarkable book, worthy of its Pulitzer. It takes a considerable investment of time by the reader, but the rewards are well worth it.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Bill Sherman on Dec 13 2002

Like many bulky books these days (Kavalier & Clay clocks in at 600-plus pages), there are times you get the sense that the writer’s love for his material has sent him down digressions not entirely fruitful. But because his characters are so clearly realized, because his world has so much sparkling detail, I followed Chabon to the end.

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Blog Critics

Above average
Reviewed by Bill Sherman on Dec 13 2002

The novel is clearly written from the perspective of someone who has loved comic books (the acknowledgement at book’s end concludes with a statement about the “deep debt” the writer owes to artist Jack Kirby)...because his characters are so clearly realized, because his world has so much sparkling detail, I followed Chabon to the end.

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Jana Siciliano on Aug 24 2001

Michael Chabon, a rock star among American authors, takes every ample ounce of his head and heart to infuse this story with amplified life, making THE AMAZING ADVENTURES OF KAVALIER AND CLAY one of the richest and most satisfying books you will ever read.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Scott Tobias on Mar 29 2002

A rousing labor of love by a major contemporary author, Kavalier & Clay reveals that sometimes the horrors generated by popular artists can both reflect and ricochet.

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Scott Tobias on Mar 29 2002

A rousing labor of love by a major contemporary author, Kavalier & Clay reveals that sometimes the horrors generated by popular artists can both reflect and ricochet.

Read Full Review of The Amazing Adventures of Kav... | See more reviews from AV Club

Entertainment Weekly

Above average
Reviewed by Troy Patterson on Sep 29 2000

The book is, in a sophisticated way, comic-bookish. It’s all zings and zigzags, bold strokes and curlicues and peculiar coinckidincks. It’s like a graphic novel inked in words and starring the author himself in the lead role: Wonder Boy.

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The Independent

Excellent
Reviewed by Shelley Harris on Dec 23 2011

...this is an astounding novel, everything a great story should be, and that it knocks into a cocked hat all the specious arguments which seek to separate “readability” from “good writing”. It won the Pulitzer Prize...You have to read this – it’s brilliant, it’s genius, it’s...

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Booklist Online

Above average
Reviewed by Donna Seaman on Aug 01 2000

As Chabon—equally adept at atmosphere, action, dialogue, and cultural commentary—whips up wildly imaginative escapades punctuated by schtick that rivals the best of Jewish comedians, he plumbs the depths of the human heart and celebrates the healing properties of escapism and the “genuine magic of art” with exuberance and wisdom.

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Pajiba

Good
Reviewed by Mrs. Walker on Jan 02 2009

The story of Kavalier and Clay is not always cheerful...but the moments that Chabon describes to tell it are what buoys it all up, full of light and good...This really is a tremendous book — perhaps it is a little self-consciously worthy but it is passionate and heartbreaking and all those good things. I do recommend it.

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SF Site

Good
Reviewed by David Maddox on Jan 11 2013

Chabon's writing style simply drips off the page with over-embellished, pulpy descriptions of scenes and character emotions. There is an overall nostalgic feel which captures World War II New York exquisitely...Do yourself a favor, read this book and take a trip back in time to a long-gone world of newsprint pulp fantasy.

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About.com

Good
Reviewed by Michael Chabon on Jul 19 2015

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is an intricately researched and sweeping historical novel. With comics in the foreground and war on the world stage, the author explores the themes of escapism and of the meaning and purpose of art, while simultaneously plumbing the depths of love, magic, and redemption...

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Book Buzz

Excellent
Reviewed by Teresa Cook on Aug 25 2011

I absolutely fell in love with Joe while reading this book. And I would have loved to have Sammy over for dinner. He is full of ideas. The characters are endearing, the story is suspenseful, sad, happy and heartwarming. I loved this book.

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Commentary

Above average
Reviewed by JOHN PODHORETZ on Jun 01 2001

The story of Siegel and Shuster’s invention of Superman is the biographical kernel...The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is a wonderful book but, despite its scope, a small one.

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http://www.bookdrum.com

Above average
Reviewed by Kerri McDonald on Jun 19 2015

This is the kind of book that can be read again and again: the first time, in a bit of a rush, because one is desperate to know what will happen next; and then again, at a more leisurely pace, taking the time to absorb the wealth of historical detail, enjoy the highly individual secondary characters, and marvel at the beauty of Chabon's writing.

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Things Mean a Lot

Above average
Reviewed by Ana S on Aug 01 2007

What I’m trying to say is that even though I found this a remarkable and brilliant book, I know it’s not something everyone will enjoy...I think the problem is that you have to really fall in love with the story to really enjoy it, to eagerly welcome all the asides and details. Otherwise, I can see how it would become tedious.

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Raging Biblioholism

Good
Reviewed by Drew on Aug 12 2015

And, by and large, this is a novel that does exactly what you want novels to do. It is transportative, whisking the reader away to a New York City...It’s a tough task to make the late 30s feel new, but Chabon does it with panache to spare: there’s magic in this book, both literally and figuratively.

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Literary Exploration

Good
Reviewed by MICHAEL KITTO on Aug 21 2013

If you’ve never read a Michael Chabon novel then I recommend it...I have to say The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay is masterfully crafted and deserves all the praise it received.

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http://www.booklore.co.uk

Good
Reviewed by John Alwyine-Mosely on Mar 31 2010

The writing is a tour de force so that you hear, touch and smell the period. Each character has their own voice and even minor characters when they enter the story in a few paragraphs you have their back-story...Yes, I am going say it... if you only have the chance to read one book this year make it this one, you won’t be disappointed.

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The New Canon

Good
Reviewed by Ted Gioia on Jun 18 2015

Chabon maintains an impressive balancing act throughout this book. He manages to capture the flavor of pulp fiction, without its banality. He stuffs his novel with more plot twists than an old movie serial, but never loses the thread of his main story...Amazing adventures, indeed!

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DeFlip Side

Good
on Apr 03 2011

Despite being only marginally genre-related, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay stands out for being that rarest of rarities: a mainstream novel that’s actually exceptionally good. I’d recommend it to anyone, SF fan or not. And if you’re a comic book buff, you’ll be able to appreciate it on a deeper level.

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Reader Rating for The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
79%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 1231 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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