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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.
I can see why this book was awarded a Pulitzer Prize. Michael Chabon's writing style is engaging and his vocabulary is exceptional. Read morePublished 19 hours ago by Brier Bookworm
I finished reading this over a few weeks. The other Chabon book I read was the Yiddish Police Man's Union. This book, like the Yiddish Police Man's Union, took over me slowly. Read morePublished 4 days ago by GearMouse
A well written novel about 2 cousins breaking into the comic book genre in the late '30's and during WWII. They are really likable and human characters. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Samantha Morse
Friends and relatives have been recommending The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay to me for years. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Rebecca Mugridge
This is an amazing epic of lives and souls, of dreams and hope, of love and self sacrifice, of love lost and love found found again, of tragedy and delierium in grief, and of being... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Eric
This actually isn't my first interaction with this set of characters - I read The Escapist as a comic several years ago, without knowing it was a tie-in to this novel. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Tan Yi Jun