3. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon:
This is one of those books people have been recommending for ages, and I know the Pulitzer Prize doesn't hold much weight after you've read The Shipping News, but I was assured that this was a good book. I was not steered wrong, thankfully.
People always blah-di-blah about how gorgeous Michael Chabon's prose is, and I was all, "Whatever," and then I actually read the book, and now I'm all, "Oh." Because the language dances in this man's hands, guys. I can't find a selection to properly illustrate this because that's not how it works. It's just the whole book. The way every sentence has an energy, despite the mundaneness of what's going on. What's beautiful about the book is the sense of style, the wryly omniscient narration that knows all that has gone on, all that is going on, and all that will come to pass. You don't mind digressions because you feel like you're in the hands of a master storyteller, someone who's spinning a good yarn, elocuting around the campfire.
In a nutshell, the book is about Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, two Jewish cousins who create the popular and influential comic book character, the Escapist. The backdrop is World War II. It is about their travails in the industry. But it's really much more than that. What I loved about the story was how intensely human it was. It was not the story of America During the War. It was their story. You see how individuals, the little people, were affected.
About two-thirds of the way through, the narrative takes a radical turn, and it kind of lost me. You shouldn't have two hundred pages of denoument. It recovers by the end, and I kind of understand why (some of) it was necessary, but it kept me from loving the book as much as I could have. Because I was becoming really engrossed in the world and the lives of the characters before things went a bit haywire.
All in all, however, it's a great book, especially if you're a comic book fan. These days, whenever someone asks for a book recommendation, I immediately recommend The Time Traveler's Wife. Now, I have another book to recommend as well. Current Mood: giggly Current Music: Raconteurs - Steady, as She Goes