The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

by Michael Chabon

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Part VI, Chapters 7–13

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Last Updated on March 16, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 890

Chapter Seven 

Tommy leads Sammy and Lieber up to the seventy-second floor, to a door labeled “Vanishing Creams, Inc.” But there is no response to his knock. Then a building cop, Rensie, arrives to say that the leaper is now up on a parapet, costumed and poised to jump. It isn’t clear how he got there.

Sammy is confused. Lieber, too, was sure the letter was simply a stunt on Tommy’s part. Now they are all baffled. To heighten tensions, a group of orphans have now arrived on a bus and are waiting in the street below. The police ask Sammy and Tommy to come up and speak to Joe.

Chapter Eight 

The gathered orphans look up at Joe, who declares, “You will see… a man can fly.” He has an elastic rope made of rubber bands; Joe is convinced he can plunge towards the sidewalk on this rope and then reascend.

Sammy calls out to Joe, and then Tommy steps out. Harley, the chief of police, describes it all as “a stunt.” Sammy argues that the letter sent to the paper did not say anything about “a Human Yo-Yo act.” Joe, of course, did not write the letter. Sammy says that the possibility of dying may be small but is still present.

Sammy says wretchedly that “the Escapist doesn’t fly!” but Joe leaps anyway. The elastic rope snaps, and Joe lands on the roof ledge of the 84th floor, stunned but alive.

Chapter Nine 

Joe is carried down to the garage, where an ambulance is waiting. Sammy goes with him. Joe says he reads Sammy’s column every month as well as his comic, Sea Yarns. He says he’s sorry for taking the costume and sorry, too, about Bacon’s death, acknowledging that it was a long time ago now.

Chapter Ten 

Sammy enters Joe’s apartment, which Tommy has named “the Chamber of Secrets.” There are thousands of pages of drawings in the apartment featuring a character known as the Golem. Joe has been drawing a novel.

Lieber suggests that Sammy come to the hospital with him. He wants to arrest Joe. A man arrives looking for Sammy and issues him a congressional subpoena. Tommy suggests that Sammy may need to call Rosa.

Chapter Eleven 

Rosa is working on a new story when Sammy calls to say that he is bringing Joe home with him. She became a comic book artist after Sammy took over Gold Star and fired everyone he felt was “subcompetent.” She began writing romance books for Gold Star and has become increasingly famous in the industry.

Rosa makes up the bed for Joe and then changes into a dress. Not knowing what else to do, she goes on working until Joe and Sammy arrive. Tommy is asleep. Rosa suggests that Sammy relinquish Tommy to Joe so that Joe can carry the boy to bed, which he does.

Rosa tells Joe that he could have died, as she serves dinner. Then the telephone rings; it is a journalist wanting to speak to Sammy about Joe. Rosa tells Joe that Sammy has missed him the most and even sent several private detectives after him. Joe tells Rosa that Tommy has an idea that Sammy isn’t his real father. Rosa asks why Joe couldn’t simply have called. Joe says he wanted to but didn’t know what the pair would think of him. Sammy declares, “we love you.”

Chapter Twelve 

Sammy gets into bed with Rosa, clutching a notepad and pencil. They discuss Joe’s secret life and ponder the reasons why he felt he had to hide himself. Rosa asks how...

(This entire section contains 890 words.)

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Joe was able to avoid prosecution, and Sammy explains that he talked to the arresting officer and that he is going to have lunch with him.

They query whether Joe will stay for a time. Sammy asks whether Rosa still loves him. Rosa dodges and returns the question; she then asks whether Sammy still loves her. Sammy says he does. Rosa then tells him that Tommy knows Sammy isn’t his real father and suggests that it is time to tell him the truth.

Chapter Thirteen 

Joe finds that he is still in love with Rosa. He realizes he has forgotten how freckled she was, and he admires the fact that she has stopped trying to keep her weight at an unnaturally low sum for her frame. He admires the capaciousness of her, the way she fills out her clothing, and is startled by the way his love for her seems to bring him back to his youth. He realizes that she and Sammy are not sexually involved but still very much married, and does not want to “interpose” himself. One day, however, he asks for forgiveness for running away, and Rosa says that neither she nor Sammy hold it against him.

Joe and Rosa kiss in the hallway. Joe explains that he escaped notice when returning from the war, because he wasn’t on board the intended boat. He had come by plane the night before. Then Joe asks, “What are we going to do?” Rosa says she has an idea and tells Joe he should figure out where in their house he might be able to keep his comic books.


Part VI, Chapters 1–6


Part VI, Chapters 14–20