Saturday, April 08, 2006

The Adventure of Kavalier & Clay -- Michael Chabon

This was the book that eluded me forever. People have been asking me for years (eons?) if I had read this book and every time I would ask them to tell me the title again... for some reason it just wouldn't stick. I'd forget about it for a while and then I'd be asked, forget the title, ad nauseum.
So I was pleasantly surprised when I chanced upon the paperback for FIFTY CENTS at a thrift store (there to make a donation, and end up walking out with 10 new books is my usual M.O.). As always, I was browsing the staggering selection of cheesy romance novels and bibles that no one has the courage just to recycle... and there it was. To be honest, I didn't recognize the title at first... but something about the title and the ampesandt drew me in. So I picked it up and ran down the aisle to Ryan (browsing books on Syberia) wiggling in my happy-dog dance. We both had the "oh yeah" epiphany.
So, I set to work on it right away. And it sucked me right in, completely. Seriously, when I got toward the end on Thursday night, I got in bed at 10pm (a record setting early bed time) to finish reading (which took until 1am, naturally). Now I am in the throes of the Good Novel Let-Down. Who am I know, know that I don't have this story to look forward to? There were so many surprising twists and turns and overall just humor and affection... it was really awesome. Truly.
I have been goading Ryan to start reading it, but he has such precious little time for thousand-page novels. I made him read the chapter about Luna Moth, knowing that even HE couldn't resist it and now he's chomping at the bit to get started.
You don't have to be a comic officianado to enjoy it (obviously, I don't know diddly about even the work that passes through my own house), but some of the commentaries and references are fun if you know a little something about the biz. For example, I told Ryan to cheer up about his page rates (which break down to approx. 2 cents an hour*, if you look at it that way) when Kavalier & Clay are talking to the editor about bumping up their $6 a page to $8 (amid the Depression -- they're gonna be rich!).
The book is extremely verbose, in a good way. I have to admit that I pulled out the dictionary a lot at first and then got so hungry for the story that I skipped that step altogether and just bounced over the words that I didn't know (which were a significant number -- I must be a real dolt). The desriptions are beautiful and lovingly crafted. It's definitely an award-worthy book and I was glad to see the honors listed on the back cover. If only Kavalier & Clay were real...
*slight exaggeration, don't kill me Danny -- you're not a total slavedriver.

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