Monday, 1 November 2010
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon
I read this as part of a read-along organised by English Major's Junk Food and was a great excuse for me to read this one which was on my TBR list.
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay won the Pulitzer prize in 2001 and at over 600 pages (with quite small writing) in which themes of sexuality, death and the holocaust feature this is a book I was looking forward to reading and getting stuck into.
There are two main protagonists, Jewish cousins, Sam Clayman and Joe Kavalier. The novel starts when Sam is woken in the middle of the night by his mother who introduces Joe who has escaped from Prague just before the start WWII. Together they end up taking the comic book world in New York by storm with their character the escapist used to wage their own personal war on the Nazis.
There characterisation of the two protagonists is wonderful who throughout the novel become rounded figures complete with their own likeable and more dislikeable traits. The pain that Kavaliers feel as his family including his young brother are left back in Prague is heartbreaking and Claymans confusion over his sexuality is nicely played out.
While the novel started off promising and which included a daring escape from Prague, from about page 100 it became (and I hate to say this) a bit of a chore to read. There was nothing wrong with the writing or plot exactly but for a few hundred pages the novel just seemed to ‘plod’, it was laboured and it felt too long. It did pick up again about 150 pages from the end and I did find the ending quite touching but by that point I think the author lost me abit.
Would I recommend this? This is certainly a highly original book and aside from the middle section I quite enjoyed it. I think its best to check out other reviews like this one as perhaps this is one which just didn't fully work for me.
Posted by Jess