Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay: by Michael Chabon. I actually finished reading this about a month before I started grading things, so seems like it's still timely to me.  This is actually the fourth book by Chabon that I have read and I was nigh unto giddy with excitement* when I started it.  Ultimately, I did thoroughly enjoy the book, but to me it was not as good as I'd hoped.  Granted given all the hype about the book and given that the other things I'd read by him had been so good, perhaps I was setting the bar to high.  The Yiddish Policemen's Union was the first thing I read by Chabon and it was amazingly good.  (I probably will never get to reviewing it, but if I did, it would get an A+).  Both books start out slow and appear to be wandering around aimlessly, but the pace does pick up. (Actually, the pace probably stay the same, but you start making mental connections that make things more meaningful.)  In the Yiddish Policemen's Union once things got going I was thoroughly engaged and practically couldn't put the book down.  For Kavalier and Clay that just didn't happen.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the book, but I didn't find myself going to bed early so that I could spend more time reading.  Chabon is a master at presenting the book's setting.  It is set in before, during and after World War II and you'd be hard pressed to find any detail lacking (be it surrounding, society, attitudes or anything else for that matter).  If it turned out Chabon had some sort of time machine in his office, I wouldn't be surprised.  For anyone who hasn't read Chabon, his books tend to be densely written (as in he packs a lot of words and meaning into a page) and he isn't afraid to use $20 words, but don't let that put you off.  I will undoubtedly seek out more of his books in the future and hope they continue to be as good.

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay: A

* - People who know me will realize this is a complete lie as I'm not one to do 'giddy'.

** - As I probably will also never get around to rereading and grading the other books of his I've read, I'll list them here.  Gentlemen of the Road (A-) was an early story of his and Manhood for Amateurs (A) is a nonfiction behind the scenes look at Chabon, his life and his thoughts.

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