Friday, December 30, 2011

read: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (5 stars)

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and ClayThe Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I keep thinking that a five star review is supposed to be reserved for a 'perfect' book. I wanted Michael Chabon's "Kavalier and Clay" to be such a thing. And for a while I thought it might be. Alas, there is no such thing as a perfect book. This might not be the 'Great American Novel'. But it still deserves five stars.

It deserves five stars for its rich prose, distinct characters, vivid settings, and strong story. That's not to say that we haven't seen similar characters and settings and themes before. But Chabon weaves them together in a way that sweeps up the reader and carries them along such that the pages simply fly by (most of the time). There's not only the pair of journeys from boy to man, including the classic loss of innocence. There are also the journeys from urban to suburban, from child to parent, and peace to war to peace.

It's not a perfect book. There are quite a few spots where the narrative loses focus and seems to get off track. It sags a bit in the middle. It's also lacking in universal appeal. It is definitely a male book, about manly pursuits and male bonding. There are few women and they are only there to illuminate the men in the story. But these are only minor quibbles.

This is a great book and highly recommended.

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