The Week In Books, No. 31

I only read one book this week, but it was almost 700 pages long, and every page was excellent. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
is about the emergence of the comic book hero genre, America in the 1930s to 1950s, Jewish immigration, magic tricks, and a host of other seemingly unrelated things that Michael Chabon brilliantly ties together with his exceptional writing skills. I’ve never been a big comic book reader, other than borrowed copies of Archie comics to pass the time during Rest Hour at camp, but I felt like somehow Chabon managed to impart a feeling of comic book story to the actual story of the book. For example, some chapters start with a new concept that Kavalier and Clay are writing for a comic, but you don’t quite know if it’s a comic book backstory or part of the real story until halfway through. Hard to explain, but it’s a great technique. Interspersed with the story, which was heavy and grief-laden at points, Chabon interjects the hilarious descriptions and observations that mark his outstanding writing style and lighten the book without diminishing the depth of its feeling. For example, in the midst of a section that illustrates the convoluted and sad nature of a father-son relationship, Chabon remarks,

“The pajamas were patterned with red pinstripes and tiny blue escutcheons. Sammy was wearing a pair that had red escutcheons with blue pinstripes. That was Rosa’s idea of fostering a sense of connection between father and son. As any two people who have ever dressed in matching pajamas will attest, it was surprisingly effective.”

Although I still think “The Yiddish Policeman’s Union” is Chabon’s best work, I would also recommend The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay.

Currently Reading:
Job, Psalms, Mark, 2 Peter
“Much Depends on Dinner” by Margaret Visser

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