The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

I have three favorite books.  There are books that come and go, books that rise up and float to the top, but they are not the Most Favorite Books.  I have favorite authors, and even those wax and wane.  But I have three favorite books, books that I adore, which upon the first read I knew would shape me forever, books which I hold like close friends, even when I don’t reread them often.

  1. Tom Jones by Henry Fielding.  For a long time this was the only one.
  2. American Gods by Neil Gaiman.  I like all his stuff, but this book is seminal.  Just thinking about it makes me tremble.
  3. The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay by Michael Chabon.

I just finished the latter, which seems a bit early to put it in the trinity (or use it to make a trinity, as the case actually is, but I don’t need time to know that this one stays.  I can barely talk about it now, but this book is brilliant.  Everyone should read it.  And Caryle, don’t skip to the end.  Just read it.  It has everything.  It has exceptional writing.  It has amazing storytelling.  It has themes so deep and rich and varied you could not find them all in one hundred reads.  It has pacing.  It has adventure.  It has the thrill of excitement and adventure.  It has heartbreak.  It has absolutely terrible heartbreak.  And then it has healing, and growth, and recovery.  And it has absolutely wonderful resolution–yet doesn’t end, but opens into a new world you are able to satisfyingly create yourself.

Surprising no one at all, I was in love with Sammy from page one, and had him well under my wing before all the curtains were exposed on him.

It’s just the best book.  I can’t tell which are my favorites in those three yet, but right now Gaiman and Chabon are sort of duking it out while Fielding sips claret and watches, kicking his foot.

I love the world, because it has these books in it.

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