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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
It's a very interesting story, very different. Spans many years.Published 4 days ago by Kenneth Wayne Olsen
Trying to save their son from the horrors of the Nazi invasion into Prague, his famiy wants him to flee to America. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Suzanne
This copy is a gift. I LOVED this book and want to read it again myself.Published 11 days ago by danalee h.
Some of the writing is beautiful, and certainly Chabon has done his research with regard to comic books, illusions, and the time period (1940s/50s), but there were some major... Read morePublished 20 days ago by CM in CT
This was one of the worst books I have ever read, it was so slow. Although I am learning that I am not a fan of the classicePublished 21 days ago by A leader
Phenomenally written, larger than life novel. A literary masterpiece that is visual in nature and offers a glimpse into New York City during the comic book age. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Andrea Scaglione