At first, I wasn’t sure what to think of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. I’m can’t remember where I heard about it first, but it sat in my Amazon wishlist for a while. I didn’t know what kind of book to expect. A book about two boys who set out to write comic books? What’s that all about? Then Neil Gaiman mentioned the author, Michael Chabon, on his blog, and I thought if Neil liked it, that boded well. So I finally ordered it.
Boy, am I glad I did.
It is a heartfelt, heartwarming, heartbreaking novel. There are touches of the surreal, which complement the emotional content, a bit like John Irving, but not that strange. I was charmed. Yes, it’s about comics in the Golden Age, which provides a rich fabric in which the story is woven. It’s also about war, death, grieving, but life and laughter too.
Kavalier & Clay is a story of two Jewish cousins, one from Brooklyn, one sent to America by his family to escape the Nazis. They develop a dream of creating comic books, which takes them far. At the same time, they struggle to figure out who they are and where they belong in the world. I highly recommend it.