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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Michael Chabon (2000)

A golem, a superhero, and a Pulitzer Prize

Mark Oppenheimer
September 17, 2013

Jews made Hollywood, Jews used to box—that we knew. But in 2000, Michael Chabon reminded us that Jews also invented the comic book. In The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, Chabon, whose work had always flirted with both Jews and the glories of pop culture, coupled them off in a steamy shotgun marriage. It is the tale of two cousins, one on the run from the Nazis, the other from his own sexual identity, who team up to create a comic-book superhero in WWII-era Gotham. Unlike the comic books, this novel is long and complex; like the best comics, it’s fun for the kids but has a message for the grown-ups.

Mark Oppenheimer is a Senior Editor at Tablet. He hosts the podcast Unorthodox. He has contributed to Slate and Mother Jones, among many other publications. He is the author, most recently, of Squirrel Hill: The Tree of Life Synagogue Shooting and the Soul of a Neighborhood. He will be hosting a discussion forum about this article on his newsletter, where you can subscribe for free and submit comments.