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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.
This is one of my all-time favourite books. I was thrilled by the action, charmed by the beauty of Chabon's language and touched by the experiences of his characters. Read morePublished 24 days ago by Heart L.
Superman has a side kick and his name is Clay.
Chabon spins an epic tale of adventure and love. Read more
One of my all-time favourites. Glamourous, magical and with incredibly vivid characters. This is a book that I keep coming back to.Published 11 months ago by elizabeth jefferson
Pulitzer prize winner,Very good read, quite a page turner obviously. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves reading.Published 13 months ago by Will
Love it completely. Chabon is my favorite author and this book is his absolute masterpiece. I've read everything he's written.Published 23 months ago by Cory Beatty
I read this book in high school after taking it out of my library. I never really had the chance to buy it until now. Read morePublished on Feb. 14 2013 by abaabaaa
Kavalier & Clay depicts what it was like to live in occupied Poland during the war. Joe Kavalier is followed from his youth in Poland to his early 20's and 30's in New York. Read morePublished on Nov. 25 2010 by Jennifer
Just a short note to add to so many other reviews.
I used to collect comics as I kid but I actually enjoyed the characters more in this story than the comic book... Read more
I picked it up thinking that it looked right up my alley. Don't be fooled by the title or the back jacket. That said, it was still an immensely well written book. Read morePublished on June 15 2007 by M. Catalano