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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
Probably said before somewhere in these reviews or on the book jacket, but I consider this an EPIC novel. Read morePublished 3 days ago by Tony Caprice
An adventure for certain. If you love comic books and a bit of history and well drawn characters, this one is worth the time to sit down with.Published 6 days ago by R. Gene Turchin
I stumbled onto this in the local library. What initially attracted me to it was the cover and the fact that it was designed like a comic book. Read morePublished 8 days ago by Sandra Grund
After reading Chabon's Telegraph Avenue with my book group, I had to read Kavalier and Clay. Chabon uses language and spins detailed stories in a way that I have never encountered... Read morePublished 13 days ago by denver chick
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 28 days ago by Brier Bookworm