Monday, September 27, 2010

Kavalier and Clay, Pt. 2

Well, I finished Chabon's novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. It was a very good read and a well-written story. I certainly think it deserves its accolades and awards. That said, I also have to say that it didn't rise up to the hype in my mind. I would rank it as one of my better reads this year, but I wouldn't put it in my top 20 all time favorites. It's good, but it doesn't have the hallmarks of a classic. The one thing about Chabon that I do think is quite extraordinary is his ability to craft a creative story concept. The whole idea of comic book writing and the frame of the idea of "The Escapist" as a comic book superhero to parallel the life of Josef Kavalier is pure genius and pure fun. And Chabon is an equally superb narrative storyteller. You can see the same genius at work in The Yiddish Policeman's Union, where the story concept of a post-World War II temporary Jewish homeland in Alaska as opposed to the Middle East was also quite creative and intriguing. Nevertheless, Kavalier and Clay ended with a whimper. Chabon just lost the narrative steam in the last part of the story, and I gathered that he just didn't quite know how to wrap the story up. Still a good read, though, and one I'm glad I invested the time in. Next up, and I've already started it, is Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove. Let's see if this one lives up to the hype.


eric said...

Hope you enjoy Lonesome Dove, look forward to reading your comments on it.

On a recommendation from my step-dad, I started reading Jimmy Carter's Revolutionary War novel "The Hornet's Nest" last weekend and have been pleasantly surprised by how good it is. Historical fiction is a hard genre to do right, and Carter does an expert job at using the story to make the history lesson more informative and interesting (mostly focusing on the war in the South, as opposed to the New England-centric narrative we usually hear).

Giving kudos to Jimmuh Cahtuh is not something I find myself doing very often, but this is a great book regardless of your politics.

I'm looking forward to the day when Presidnet Obama is semi-retired and writing novels as well... ;-)

jkim said...

Lonesome Dove is fantastic. Please comment as you go through.

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