Other Possible Wars: Genre, Metafiction and the Ethics of Art in Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay


Michael Chabon; Jewish American fiction; Metafiction; Trauma; Ethics

How to Cite

Marqués López, I. (2023). Other Possible Wars: Genre, Metafiction and the Ethics of Art in Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay. GAUDEAMUS, the Journal of the Association of Young Researchers on Anglophone Studies, 3(1), 83–102. Retrieved from https://reunido.uniovi.es/index.php/GAUDEAMUS/article/view/20682


In the last few decades, American fiction has aimed to explore the ethical possibilities of language and art. In this new tradition, Michael Chabon combines plots and motifs from American popular culture with postmodern narrative techniques with a double purpose: exploring the meanings of contemporary Jewish identity, and interrogating the legitimacy of American myths and narratives. Chabon’s acclaimed novel The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay (2000) is an example of Jewish-American fiction that explores the question of Jewish identity in post-war America through the motifs of exile, popular culture, and superhero narratives. In doing so, however, it also considers the ethical problems of surviving the Shoah and thriving surrounded by multiple fictions.

This paper examines Chabon’s use of metafictional strategies as well as the meanings of creativity within the ontological frame of the main characters, arguing that Chabon stands at an intersection between the self-reflexive practice of postmodernist fiction and the ethical possibilities of narrative and art. Despite the critiques against Chabon’s ethically deviant approach to Holocaust history, Kavalier and Clay advocates fiction as a powerful tool that reveals the possibilities and responsibilities of writing the self in a collective (hi)story.



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