The word amazing is not too extreme to describe this book. It
definitely deserves a place both in the title and in the words a reader
(like me) uses to describe this book. It's not just the adventures that are
amazing, though they are: they range geographically from Prague to New York to Antarctica throughout the 30s, 40s, and 50s, and cover such subjects as Houdini-esque escapes, comic book empire creations, and of course, falling in love. The main characters, Josef (Joe) Kavalier and Sam Klayman (Clay), two Jewish cousins, have quite the amazing adventures, both apart and together. Almost as amazing as the adventures their comic book creations have.
But like I said, it's not just the adventures that are amazing in this
book, it's the accomplishment of how the writing (rich but s
effortless) pulls you in, carries you along, and takes your breath away. How the plot is gripping and widesweeping and never leaves you behind, but with plenty to think about. And how the characters could walk off the page. All of which explains why this book won the Pulitzer Prize and has been on bestseller lists for months. And why it's so hard to stop reading.
And one more amazing thing about this book: as all really good books (and some bad ones) do, it helps you to escape, Houdini-esque, from reality for a time, into another sort of reality. Don't be surprised if you emerge dazed and unable to describe your feelings after a session of reading it, saying something terribly unintellectual like "Wow! That's a good book—you should read it." (By the way, if anyone says that to you about this book, they're right.)
One final comment: this book helped me know the answers to three Trivial Pursuit questions, which is, of course, the best reason of all to read a book.