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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
Came very late to the game on this one, and happy to report it lived up to the hype. This was one of those books I kind of hoped would keep going on forever.Published 9 days ago by This Chick Reads
It was a good story. It felt like it leaned into history enough to make it feel real and it was entertaining.Published 9 days ago by chris taylor
This is a tedious book. It’s over-verbose and under-edited. I doubt Chabon ever intended to tell the story he eventually told – it’s so clearly going back-and-forth, up-and-down,... Read morePublished 14 days ago by E. Hanslick
Excellent book, Works on multiple theme levels, Great discussion book because of so many levels.Published 15 days ago by IT Setup Guy for Small Company
Very disappointed. Maybe if it had been half as long, but I could barely plod through itPublished 24 days ago by Karen Bayer
Who would have thought a historical novel about comic books could be so fascinating. The combination of intricate plot and complex characters made this any entirely absorbing and... Read morePublished 25 days ago by Julie Imhof
Michael Chabon is a brilliant writer but grab your Thesaurus...I'm known to have an extensive vocabulary and I had to keep mine close when reading this book.Published 1 month ago by Judith
Great read! Well researched and extremely creative. Touch long winded at times, but still worth the time.Published 1 month ago by ETHAN EHRLICH