I recently finished finally this wonderful book The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. I didn’t know anything bout the book nor the author until I went some weeks ago into my fave book store Strips and Stories that is expert for Comics and Graphic Novels. I was there and was just looking for new cute postcards I usually buy there. But unfortunately there was a woman who wanted to have a birthday present for a girlfriend. I suggested her to buy some Neil Gaiman and she said … “Alright, if I should buy Gaiman you have to take this book. She gave me the German paperback issue of Kavalier and Clay and I had another epic work of genius on my pile of unread books. I mean it is epic. It is 811 pages long in my edition. I got quietly headache cuz I didn’t want to read it … I have so many other stuff unread that is epically long such as Infinite Jest by DFW.
Anyway, this wonderful book is a book about Josef Kavalier and his cousin Sam Clay. Josef is an Escaping Artist (like in tradition of Houdini) and an Artstudent and Jew from Prague. We got to know him as someone who escaped from the Nazis in 1939 very spectacularly with the help of Mr. Kornblums escaping knowledges and the Golem. The story starts anyway in Brooklyn, New York. Josef and Sam have some things in common. They are enthusiastic and they want to take part in the comic scene that is amazingly growing back in the late 30s in the USA with all of these super heros … you know Batman, Superman, Wonderwoman, Green Lantern etc. pp. These cousins create the super hero called “The Escapist” who is escaping and helping and fighting for humanity and the Escapist is an extremely passionate political correct super hero. He is so correct that he gets not only friends and fans but enemys … like pro German associations and the publishers and creators of other superheros in the comic scene. The Empire State building has a great symbolic meaning in this piece of genius.
The book isn’t just about these two guys who perform a life as publishers, creators of a Superhero. Josef a.k.a. Joey Kavalier does it with passion and for reason. He wants to fight against Nazism. He wants to help to get his family out of Prague before the worst is going on. So, he creates art to collect money … his invest in one ship for escaping jewish children is failing after one torpedo attack. In 1941 he gets into the army for free. He escapes from his love Rosa, from his family in New York without telling anyone to serve for the army. He wants to do something. He feels guilty for being healthy and alive and his family has to suffer. During all the time of escaping from his family into war for reason he never forgets about the passion with writing and his comics. This is the key for his life and his sense of life. This book is a lovestory to life. It is a passionate hommage to the comic culture and it is a welcoming epic work that tells you: You can survive any shit in life if you’ll keep the fire and emotion and enthusiasm for one important thing in your life alive.
I loved this epic work. Michael Chabon has an extremely wonderful writing style. You can read that he did excellent research for this book and all of these 811 pages were worthy to be read.