The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, by Michael Chabon, was published in 2000 to critical and popular acclaim. Some critics found Chabon’s novel overly long, but all agreed that it is stylistically sound and well written. Kavalier & Clay took the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001 and has drawn as much notice as Chabon’s previous book, Wonder Boys, which was made into a feature film. Kavalier & Clay is an epic tale that is topically unique within Chabon’s body of work but stylistically consistent with his distinctive, graceful use of language.
Drawing on his own love of comic books for Kavalier & Clay, Chabon deftly weaves historical facts and figures together with light touches of fantasy. The author’s inspiration in part came from Superman’s creators: two Midwestern Jewish boys, Joe Shuster and Jerry Siegel, who sold their nascent superhero to the publisher of Detective Comics (DC Comics) for a hundred and thirty dollars. Kavalier & Clay follows two Jewish cousins in New York City, Joe Kavalier and Sammy Clay, who grow into adulthood during the onset of World War II. They experience fame, tragedy, love, and a little bit of magic. With its clever mix of literary self-consciousness and shameless adventure, Kavalier & Clay is one of those rare books which appeal to readers of both serious and popular fiction.