Orion Reads
a diary of books etc.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

so i've been reading (slowly) The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon.

Comic book fans: forgive me, i'm not well versed in the field.

it's sort of a historical fiction documenting the arc of a comic-book team which i think is meant to be sort of an amalgum of the authors of Batman and Art Spiegelman, author of the famous Maus.

In any event,
it's the WWII story of an american jewish boy and his czech cousin who comes over as a refugee. really it's the story of the cousin, who actually does have amazing adventures, whilst the american cousin more or less hangs around the fringes.

It's a good book. It's fun. Especially if you're not too much of a stickler for thematic um cohesion.

It's not however a great book, and i'm surprised it won the Pulitzer. Maybe i'm missing something in the reading. My gripe here is that it seems to me that Chabon started out w/ just a plain idea for writing a historical fiction history of Spiegelman, and that was well and good, but he (Chabon) felt maybe it needed some thickening up, so he introduced the American Cousin, and then it needed some more thickening up, so he added in homosexuality, vigilante justice/terrorism, coming of age, marriages of convenience, random items of heartbreak, and, weirdly, antarctica.
These are all noble themes, but somehow they just seem like filler in this book.

On the plus side, reading the book and the new issue of Kevin Carhart et al's Mmmm, oooh! inspired me to draw another short comic for the next issue of Mmmm, oooh! so i'm pretty grateful to it for that.

In other news,
i weirdly found myself skipping a booksigning/talk by David Foster Wallace a couple days ago. What's becoming of my inner sycophant ? It's a damned tragedy.


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