The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
My HLP is a huge Chabon-booster and I do like the man's baleful soul- eyes, so I thought at long last I'd tackle this well-regarded epic saga about secular American Jews and their secular God: Commercial Art. It's about two cousins who create some of the most memorable comic book characters in history, and their strange personal and professional journeys of creation and destruction.
Although the beginning was slow, I did fall in love with Chabon's humane approach to his protagonists, Joe and Sammy, his clever, robust and well-crafted language, his vivid descriptions of the comic book world of the 30s and 40s. I also liked reading about the buxom, smart and capable Rosa Saks, the lady of the tale, particularly since there are no misogynist overtones to her characterizations (ahem! Philip Roth.)
And behind it all the horror of what is happening to Europe's Jews is like a faint, persistent drumbeat that lends an extra pathos to the journey.
There's just enough absurdity here to work without rendering it ridiculous or overwrought, and just enough tragedy to wrench the heart but not feel like an overload.
Well deserving of all the plaudits, this one!
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