Chabon (And On And On)

The Amazing Adventures Of Kavalier & Clay is possibly the longest novel I have ever read. It's only 600 pages but it took me nine bleedin' months, in which time I think I picked it up about twenty times. That's not a bad average per sitting but I blatantly need more sittings!

I enjoyed it yet, here I am, not thoroughly recommending it. That's embarrassing because I gave it as a birthday present a long time ago, back before I'd started the first chapter. Do we still use spoiler warnings on books when, like, nobody cares about books any more? All this Deathly Hallows nonsense would suggest so. We'll have a warning, then: spoiler spoiler spoiler spoiler! There are seven hallows, not six.

Returning to the book I just read:

Samuel Clayman and Joseph Kavalier are two New York Jews (one fresh off the boat from Czechoslovakia) whose rise in the comics business paralells the rise of the Nazi party in Europe. They can't fight physically so they write big Nazi-bashing adventures for their trademark superheroes, The Escapist and Luna Moth. They fall in love but not with each other. One goes to war, one stays behind to mind the other's wife and child, they are reconciled and live as an unconventional family unit of four in the 1950s.

I cared about what happened to the characters but wished I would make it happen faster. The early sections were heavy on Jewishness which was educational but failed to resonate with me personally. Harry Houdini, Salvador Dali and Stan Lee had entertaining cameos. The lines between the real-life New York and the fictional Empire City often seemed blurred and I was disappointed when this aspect of the story was written off as the fantasy of a delusional man halfway through.

Best for a comics nut like myself were the affectionate tributes to genre characters as Kavalier and Clay ripped off Action Comics without infringeing copyright. Unfortunately, I took an hour out one Sunday morn to read Kurt Busiek's Astro City which does the same trick faster and in colour: The Samaritan is Superman, Cleopatra is Wonder Woman, the Honor Guard is the Justice League, etc.

Read either (but not both) and don't dally. For all the Potter-knocking, Rowling is probably more balls-out fun. And for my next trick, something light like The Hippopotamus by Stephen Fry.


Blogger The Paranoid Mod said...

Well, Rowling's for kids (technically) and can't write for toffee (but that never bothered Tolkien) and Chabon's a proper grown up novelist, like. I read HP in about 6 hours, K&C took me a while longer. Probably won't read either again...

Blogger thisismarcus said...

How much longer was the while longer for Chabon? ;)

Blogger The Paranoid Mod said...

A week, maybe?


Post a Comment

<< Home