As previously mentioned, I have started reading The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Right now I'm only 31 pages in, but so far it is amazing. I am enthralled. The only difficulty I've encountered is that my present vocabulary has proved insufficient in providing me with all the word meanings that I need. (In doing a Google search of "omniveillant," I find I'm not the only one.) I might, with another book, have skipped over unknown words, but Kavalier & Clay is so engaging that I feel the need to understand all of it. Therefore, I turned to my two favorite resources: the Oxford English Dictionary and Wikipedia. And, at the risk of embarrassing my mother with my inadequate word-knowledge, I decided to post my findings.
ingot- a mass (usually oblong or brick-shaped) of cast metal, especially of gold or silver, and (in modern use) of steel
Clifton "Kip" Fadiman (May 15, 1904 - June 20, 1999) - an American intellectual, author, radio and television personality
Milton Caniff (February 28, 1907-April 3, 1988) - an American cartoonist famous for the Terry and the Pirates comic strip. In 1934, Caniff was hired by the New York Daily News to produce a new strip for the Chicago Tribune/Daily News syndicate. Daily News publisher Joseph M. Patterson wanted an adventure strip set in the mysterious Orient, what Patterson described as "the last outpost for adventure." Caniff, though knowing almost nothing about China, researched the nation's history and learned about families for whom piracy was a way of life passed down over the generations. The result was Terry and the Pirates, the strip which made Caniff famous.
omniveillant- watching over everything*
loupe- a small magnifier used by a watchmaker or jeweller
cineraria- a genus of composite plants, mostly natives of South Africa, with blue or purple flowers, but assuming very various colours under cultivation; they are grown as greenhouse or window plants
prestidigitation- sleight of hand, legerdemain
automaton- something which has the power of spontaneous motion or self-movement
Reichsprotektorat- The Protectorate of Bohemia and Moravia (German: Reichsprotektorat Böhmen und Mähren), the majority ethnic-Czech protectorate which Nazi Germany established in the central parts of Bohemia, Moravia and Czech Silesia in what is today the Czech Republic. It was established on March 15, 1939 by proclamation of Adolf Hitler from Prague Castle following the declaration of establishment of the independent Slovak Republic on 14 March 1939. Bohemia and Moravia as well as the General Government were autonomous Nazi-administered territories which the Nazi government considered part of "Greater Germany." This came to an end with the surrender of Germany to the Allies of World War II in 1945.
pogrom- in Russia, Poland, and some other East European countries in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, an organized massacre aimed at the destruction or annihilation of a body or class of people, especially one conducted against Jewish people; generally, an organized, officially tolerated, attack on any community or group
penury- the condition of being destitute; hardship, poverty, need
lachrymose- given or ready to shed tears; of a tearful character, mournful
James Cagney (July 17, 1899 – March 30, 1986) - an American film star. Although he won acclaim and major awards for a wide variety of roles, he is best remembered for playing "tough guys". In 1999, the American Film Institute ranked him eighth among the Greatest Male Stars of All Time.
acromegaly- a disease characterized by hypertrophy and enlargement of the extremities (hypertrophy- enlargement of a part or organ of an animal or plant, produced by excessive nutrition; excessive growth or development)
odeon- a concert hall or theatre
*After an unsuccessful search in the OED, I Googled "omniveillant" and found that it's not a real word; Michael Chabon invented it and expected his readers, intelligent and familiar with Latin word-roots, to figure it out for themselves.