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Book: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

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This is a wonderful book. As a comic book reader, I'm biased towards a story that uses the Golden Age (aetataureate) of comics as a backdrop for the story of the two cousins, Kavlier and Clay. Chabon makes excellent use of analogies between the cousins, their comic book stories, and world events as a tool for character development.

The book does have a high level of diction, at least to a illiterate fool like me, so I have made use of the extended entry to annotate some of the words/phrases that I had to lookup/translate. I felt more relieved at my ignorance when I discovered that at least one of the words was one that Chabon had made up (aetataureate). Nevertheless, the book is still remarkably easy to read. You never feel weighed down as the story gracefully moves you forward, assembling the strong character arcs Chabon has laid out.

My last comment before the extended entry is that there are too many unintentional parallels between my reading choices recently, which I blame all on Foucault's Pendulum. What are the chances that I would read two books that use Jewish tradition/kabbala, Superman, and World War II Europe? Honestly. At least there are no templars in this one (or so the templars would have me believe).

Update: Just found out on Newarama that Escapist #1 is due on the shelves in February. I'm hoping the image on Newsarama isn't the cover for #1, because it would be a shame to not try and recreate the Escapist punching Hitler cover that Chabon describes in the novel.

p. 14
Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, aka Hitler-Stalin Pact
Non-aggression treaty between Germany and Russia signed in 1939. A secret appendix divided up Eastern Europe between the two. Originally Lithuania was part of the German sphere, but it was transferred back to Russia.

p. 24

acromegaly - A chronic disease of adults marked by enlargement of the bones of the extremities, face, and jaw that is caused by overactivity of the pituitary gland

Tageblatt - Yiddish newspaper

p. 39
cenotaph - monument for someone whose remains lie elsewhere

p. 52

goyische - not jewish/gaijin

p. 80

Anapol's history.

p. 81
Karol Szymanowski. Important Polish composer

p. 123
Creation of the Escapist

p. 126
memento mori. reminder of death

p. 170
Fredric Wertham. Published anti-comic book in 1954, crusader against violence in comic books.

p. 216
das ist bemerkenswert - that is remarkable

p. 226
agitprop. political propaganda

p. 228
Topkapi. Palace in Istanbul

p. 235
Jose Ferrer. Actor who won an Oscar for his portrayal of Cyrano de Bergerac
p. 250
After 1939, were the official (single) party of Spain. Totalitarian right-wing.

p. 242
jeune homme, vous avez sauve une vie de tres grand valeur. Young man, you have saved a life of great value

je le sais bien. I know it well

p. 247
tulle. A fine, often starched net of silk, rayon, or nylon, used especially for veils, tutus, or gowns.

Alfred Jarry. Surrealist playwright, poet. Forerunner of the Theater of the Absurd.

Homunculus Uncle

spavined. marked by damage.

numinous. supernatural, sublime

grampus. cetacean, e.g. killer whale

ullage. amount of liquid lost in a container during shipment.

parbuckle. sling for raising/lowering objects

p. 251
lepidopterist - person who catches/collects butterflies and moths

p. 318
Luna Moth

p. 319
bricoleur - French for handyman

p. 332
verisimilitude - having the appearance of truth

p. 341
aetataureate - Golden Age. Possibly coined by Chabon himself.

p. 381
wimple - A cloth wound around the head, framing the face, and drawn into folds beneath the chin, worn by women in medieval times and as part of the habit of certain orders of nuns.

p. 394
Rockwell Kent. American painter and printmaker

p. 442
idee fixe - obsession

p. 443
viridian - A durable bluish-green pigment.

p. 506
trayf - unclean/out of place, opposite of kosher. actually means "torn" or "shredded"

p. 518
nystagmus - rapid, involuntary movement of the eyeball

p. 543
mien - bearing or manner

p. 586
narrishkeit - yiddish for foolishness

p. 604
tsarina - Russian empress

p. 608
lieber meister. German for "dear master"

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