I have made steady progress since my last update. I’ve gotten to page 206. I’m enjoying K and C (which is how I’m referring to this book from now on. The actual title is too much) quite a bit, and I wish I hadn’t been working so much since starting it so I could be reading it more. Here’s something interesting that happened, though. On Friday morning I was reading away, and thought I’d look ahead to see how many pages I had left in Part II, when I discovered that my copy, which I purchased at Borders at Stonestown in San Francisco in the fall of 2001, is missing pages 147 to 179, and pages 211 to 242 are present twice. This is obviously a problem. I was briefly torn between going on a scavenger hunt for a used copy and just buying a new copy somewhere when I decided to just go to The Avid Reader in Davis and buy a new copy. The scavenger hunt idea appealed to me, of course, because I love a good used book scavenger hunt, and K and C would probably be pretty easy to locate. But I didn’t feel quite like driving to Sacramento to go to many used bookstores. I wanted to read, damnit! So now I have two copies of the same book, this time on purpose. Kind of. I’m not sure which cover I like better, though I’m leaning towards the older one.
Wait, did you think you were reading a review of The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay? Oh, sorry. I’ll get back to the actual book then. Since my last update, Joe Kavalier made his way to Brooklyn. I was a bit disappointed that his journey to the States happened off page for the most part, but I suppose the book has two protagonists, not just one. Sammy quickly learns that his long lost cousin is quite a talented artist, and elects to exploit Joe’s talent in order to get them both ahead financially. They go into the comic book business (surprise!) and make their bosses rich. I suspect that the talent (i.e. Sammy and Joe and their artist buddies) and the businessmen who run Empire Comics are heading for a bad breakup before the end of the novel. But I might be wrong. I honestly have no idea where things are going at this point. Joe’s father passes away in Europe, and this brings on an anti-German rage. Joe gets into fights with Germans at ball games, on the street, and in bars. He drinks too much. He generally mourns his father like any red-blooded American would: he does a bunch of dumb stuff in his dad’s honor. Joe even goes to Canada to join the RAF so he can go kill Germans in the war. It would not surprise me if he ends up joining the service when the US joins World War II.
I’m hoping that Sammy plays more of a central role as the book progresses. I’m not complaining about spending most of the first two hundred pages with Joe. I like Joe. But it’s about Kavalier and Clay, right? And the poor little comic book kid who survived polio seems like a nice guy. Also, I am enjoying the comic book aspect of the book, which is not a surprise, but I almost wish that there were illustrations, like from the old comics Chabon references.
I can’t think of any criticisms of Chabon’s writing style or anything of that sort. This book is, so far as I can tell, flawlessly written, hence the Pulitzer Prize, I suppose. Or his writing “tics” are too subtle for an amateur book blogger like me to pick up on. I guess I’ll just have to see what I can find to complain about for Thursday!
Your post gave me an idea: a PFP-sponsored used book store scavenger hunt. I have no idea exactly how this would work, but somehow or other we would put together a list of books for people to find (a book autographed by its British author; a large-print edition of a Margaret Atwood novel, etc.) and then publicize it and have prizes. I’m not thinking of doing this anytime soon, since we have lots of other things on our plates, but maybe for next summer? And we can work on the list before then.
That sounds like a scavenger hunt I would want to take part in! If nothing else maybe we could give each other scavenger hunts.
Yes, that would be fun, but I like the idea of people all over the world looking in their own used book stores for the same things. Maybe we could have one scavenger hunt item per week (or month, or whatever) and people could send us pictures of the books they find that meet the criteria. We could spend some time hyping it beforehand.
It sounds fun.