Michael Chabon's Kavalier & Clay
Haven't posted here in awhile, so I thought I'd start a topic on the book I just finished.
I've heard others on this board describe [I]K&C[/I] as boring, but I've got to say I had the opposite experience. The thing grabbed me from the very beginning, and I found myself having a lot of trouble putting it down. The characters are well-drawn, the plot moves quickly (but never feels rushed) and found within are about a half a dozen scenes of real, honest-to-god brilliance.
Boring or not, I think it's an inarguable point that it reflects an author in firm control of his craft. The only other book of his I've read is [I]A Model World[/I] (story compilation), which was, in my opinion, a well-written (though, at times, over-written) presentation of graduate level fiction -- a promise of good things to come, but by no means an outstanding early effort. He wrote most of the stories while attending the MFA program at UC Irvine, and back then he didn't seem to know how to end a story. They just fizzled out. And there were definitely some moments in the prose that made me lose trust in his voice.
As someone who knows he's got a long, long, (long) way to go before he's able to write something worthy of publication (and I'm talking about me here), it's encouraging to witness such a marked improvement over the course of a writer's career.
I'm curious as to what other people thought.