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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 told and quite a weaving of stories, places, and complex human need and desire that entrap each character and all that contrasts to the storytelling by the characters... Read morePublished 16 days ago by C. Tochterman
If you like overly descriptive historical fiction novels this is for you. I felt like I was reading walden again sometimes in the way the author took pages to describe the type of... Read morePublished 27 days ago by Jeremy Chesher
There are some books that you put into a special category in the same way that you have a favorite relative. The world created by this book was indeed special. Read morePublished 29 days ago by RJW in Seattle
A amazing story and excellently written. I intend to purchase all of Michael Chabon's books.Published 1 month ago by Houghton-Germelman
Interesting, fun and full of historical details throughout. It offers an interesting slice of life covering the early stages of World War II, for those living in NYC and trying to... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Andrea Z