ZIP! BAM! POW!
© 2001 Shawn Vidmar
I could tell you about Michael
Chabon’s coming of age story concerning two young Jewish cousins—one immigrant from
Prague and one native Brooklyn—and their success in the golden age of comic
books. Their Escapist, sharing the newsstand shelves with Superman,
Batman & Robin and Spiderman, becomes a juggernaut for everyone involved,
including Sammy Clay and Joe Kavalier.
I could reiterate their
separate sad histories of escape and hardship. One as a young Jewish man in
Prague on the eve of World War II and how his parents risked everything to get
him out of Prague. The other is the son of a circus Strong Man who struggles
with kinship for Joe and love of Jason Bacon.
But I would rather tell you about the
wonderful world of Kavalier & Clay that Michael Chabon has created. Like an
uninked comic book, Chabon illustrates a tale of escapism, love and WWII
Chabon pixelizes his characters' environment
with details and foreshadowing. So complete, the reader feels he knows these
characters, it’s as if Chabon is merely describing an elaborate play unfolding
in front of him. We witness and expect Rosa Sak’s unique personality to
inspire Joe to introduce a winged & beautiful hero to the Escapist line while falling
madly in love with her. We see Sammy struggle with his feelings for Joe, Rosa
and Jason. Yet the intricacies of daily life, which aren’t necessarily written
for us, also unfold as we assume the strong characters have lives of their own
outside of the shifting lens of the Heidelberg Camera that brings their current
story into focus.
Chabon brilliantly punctuates his text
with famous events and people in history. He allows us to witness his characters
reacting to them first hand: The Holocaust, Pearl Harbor, World War II, as well
as meetings with Diego Rivera, Eleanor Roosevelt and Harry Houdini.
I give it 5 out of 5 stars and praise The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay as one of the most enjoyable reads I've encountered in several years. It has officially entered my top five lifetime favorite books.
Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay
email me: ShawnV@vidmarmotor.com