Friday, August 29, 2008

Book Review - The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

I was eager to read this book because I really enjoyed Michael Chabon's latest, The Yiddish Policemen's Union. Plus, K&C won the Pulitzer Prize, so you'd think this book should be as amazing as the title says.

Was it good? Yes with hesitancy. I really enjoyed the story and the characters - for the first half of the book. The first half of the book was tightly packed and concise, much like the comic books that the title characters are responsible for. Then it seemed like the book ran away from the author and just travelled all over the place. Threads unravelled and were loosely knotted together.

There didn't seem to be a reason for much of the whirlwind activity in the second half of the book - a pregnancy, an abandonment, a betrayal, true lives unlived. Even one of the title characters stresses the importance of the story and their relation to character motivation. Maybe he was speaking to the author?

I suppose the unravelling of the story matches the unravelling of the world around these characters in and around World War II. It's not that I was looking for a happy ending, just one that made sense in the story. It seems as if the author got through 800 pages of a story and then said, well, the book ran away from me, so I better just wrap it up now.

I liked it, but it wouldn't be the first on my recommendations list.


Jen said...

I need a satisfying ending to my books. It sounds fairly interesting though.

annacyclopedia said...

I LOVED this book when I read it years ago, but I don't remember it very well. Thanks for reminding me of it - I should re-read and see if it stands up to my previous opinion. I do seem to remember the latter part dragging a bit, now that you mention it.

DrSpouse said...

I did really like this book but was looking for a happy ending - I think I'm a sucker for a happy ending! It took me ages to read though - the size of it made me feel daunted though I enjoyed reading it when I was actually reading it.

joanna said...

I've been wanting to read this for so long, but didn't really know much about it so other books always won somehow. Thanks for the review!

Leora said...

I liked the first half of the book, but I didn't care for the ending. He's a good writer, with some good ideas.

Jill said...

I felt almost exactly the same about this book. It was so highly recommended by my friends that I felt bad that I didn't love it. I liked it. But didn't love it.