I recently finished The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by the amazing and illustrious Michael Chabon. I don’t even know if I should bother reviewing this book because everything I could possibly say would just pale in comparison to the magnificent scope and breadth of this novel.
It’s a novel about many things, but predominantly it covers the rise and golden age of comic books, magic, illusion, and escapism, and World War II and the plight of the Jewish people. The story takes place in WWII era New York, focusing on the relationship and partnership between two cousins: Joseph Kavalier and Sam “Sammy” Clay (Klayman). Kavalier is a refugee, having escaped from Prague via Japan, leaving his family trapped in the gradual decay induced by Nazi occupation. Clay is a New Yorker with big dreams, chief among them making it big with his drawing schemes. Both of them are artists, but Joe is the more talented of the two with years of study under his belt (among other skills, i.e., picking locks and escaping from bonds: talents learned under the tutelage of the magician Bernard Kornblum). Sam is the story guy. Between the two of them they come up with the idea for a comic book character called the Escapist and manage to get Sam’s employer to invest.