EPS Review #54 - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

by Michael Chabon, Picador, 2000

A Pulitzer prize winner.

You might think I liked this novel because it has comic-books, magic and the golem of Prague, but I really liked it because the writing was funny. (Anyway I don't like professional magic). And the characters are sympathetic.

A couple of times I have looked at his earlier work, The Mysteries of Pittsburgh, but it also seems to be about gays and writers. Reading about writers is more bearable in K&C because they are comic-book artists.

As he watched Joe stand, blazing, on the fire escape, Sammy felt an ache in his chest that turned out to be, as so often occurs when memory and desire conjoin with a transient effect of weather, the pang of creation.

In the immemorial style of young men under pressure, they decided to lie down for a while and waste time.

The next morning the Eagle newsboys hit the streets and exposed their veteran uvulas to the skies. "FAMILY TO PAY RANSOM!" they cried.

"You know I have no patience with nonsense," said the Northeast's leading wholesaler of chattering windup mandibles.

Harkoo, Deasy said, was a Village eccentric of long standing, connected to the founders of one of the posh Fifth Avenue department stores. He was a widower -- twice over -- who lived in a queer house with a daughter from his first marriage. In addition to looking after the day-to-day affairs of his gallery, orchestrating his disputes with fellow members of the American Communist Party, and pulling off his celebrated fetes, he was also, in idle moments, writing a largely unpunctuated novel, already more than a thousand pages long, which described, in cellular detail, the process of his own birth. He had taken his unlikely name in the summer of 1924, while sharing a house in La Baule with Andre Breton, when a pale, hugely endowed figure calling himself the Long Man of Harkoo recurred five nights running in his dreams.

Marjorie wrote: thanks for the review--I will read it. I didn't care for the Mysteries of Pittsburgh--but this sounds good...

Andy wrote: Sounds entertaining. Two books I wanted to mention to you that you might like - in the fantasy genre - Birthgrave and Quest for the White Witch by Tanith Lee. This is actually a trilogy, with Stormlord as the second - but its not as good as the first and last. The introduction in "Quest..." gives a good synopsis of Stormlord. I think "Quest" is the best of the three, but reading "Birthgrave" helps understand alot of what goes on in "Quest...". If you haven't read her, she's actually quite a decent writer. I've always liked her first name too.

Gavin wrote: i liked this book a lot. read it on holiday last year.

Dan wrote: I LOOOOOVED this book! Maybe one of my all time favorites. Did you read his latest work? I always want to pick it up and I always forget.