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But Joe Kavalier is driven by motives far more complex than your average hack. In fact, his first act as a comic-book artist is to deal Hitler a very literal blow. (The cover of the first issue shows the Escapist delivering "an immortal haymaker" onto the Führer's realistically bloody jaw.) In subsequent years, the Escapist and his superhero allies take on the evil Iron Chain and their leader Attila Haxoff--their battles drawn with an intensity that grows more disturbing as Joe's efforts to rescue his family fail. He's fighting their war with brush and ink, Joe thinks, and the idea sustains him long enough to meet the beautiful Rosa Saks, a surrealist artist and surprisingly retrograde muse. But when even that fiction fails him, Joe performs an escape of his own, leaving Rosa and Sammy to pick up the pieces in some increasingly wrong-headed ways.
More amazing adventures follow--but reader, why spoil the fun? Suffice to say, Michael Chabon writes novels like the Escapist busts locks. Previous books such as The Mysteries of Pittsburgh and Wonder Boys have prose of equal shimmer and wit, and yet here he seems to have finally found a canvas big enough for his gifts. The whole enterprise seems animated by love: for his alternately deluded, damaged, and painfully sincere characters; for the quirks and curious innocence of tough-talking wartime New York; and, above all, for comics themselves, "the inspirations and lucubrations of five hundred aging boys dreaming as hard as they could." Far from negating such pleasures, the Holocaust's presence in the novel only makes them more pressing. Art, if not capable of actually fighting evil, can at least offer a gesture of defiance and hope--a way out, in other words, of a world gone completely mad. Comic-book critics, Joe notices, dwell on "the pernicious effect, on young minds, of satisfying the desire to escape. As if there could be any more noble or necessary service in life." Indeed. --Mary Park --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Beautifully written. This is a complex story of adult insight and development, told against a backdrop of family, relationships and geopolitical forces -- leading up to WW II and... Read morePublished 12 days ago by DrEd
I love Michael Chabon's work. His first book, "The Yiddish Policemen's Union," was a romp even though some parts were sad, imagining that Jews after the war were given... Read morePublished 15 days ago by KnitWit
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay truly was AMAZING. At turns heartbreaking and heartlifting, It combines deep themes, humor, and insight into the private lives of... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Susan Skawinski
I felt that this is a novel that is overrated. It starts very well but I found myself trying to scan through the book in the end. The author describes the comic book era very well. Read morePublished 25 days ago by Prasanna
It's been awhile since i've read an epic taking place in twentieth century. I had heard this book was considered a modern American epic, so I was really excited to read it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Margaret Carmel
This is the book I should have been reading when I was fifteen! I was always convinced that I was born a generation late and this high-flying but still earthbound story would have... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Steve Snow