Sunday, 12 August 2012

Book Review: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay - Michael Chabon

Synopsis - One night in 1939, Josef Kavalier shuffles into his cousin Sam Clay's cramped New York bedroom, his nerve-racking escape from Prague finally achieved.  Little does he realise that this is the beginning of an extraordinary friendship and even more fruitful business partnership.  Together, they create a comic strip called The Escapist, its superhero a Nazi-busting saviour who liberates the oppressed around the world.  The Escapist makes their fortune, but Joe can think of only one thing: how can he effect a real-life escape, and free his family from the tyranny of Hitler?

Review - Due to holiday activities it took me a lot longer to read this book than I would have liked.  I read it over a period of 2-3 weeks, unheard of for me!  Therefore I hope I can do the book justice in the review.  It is a very good book, well written and full of detail and keeps the reader going along.  Yes, there were some bits I found more difficult to read than others but this is often the case in a big book - and this one is a tome.

Joe Kavalier escapes Czechoslovakia leaving behind his parents and younger brother.  On reaching New York and finding his cousin Sammy Clay, he joins Sammy at work writing and drawing storyboards for comic strips.  Between them they invent The Escapist and many other characters.  During this time Joe cannot forget his family he left behind, after hearing of his father's death, he puts all his efforts into bringing his brother Thomas to New York.  He meets Rosa the woman he loves and many other people in the comic book industry, as well as hearing his invention broadcast on the radio and discussions about televising The Escapist.  It is Sam who becomes more involved in this side of things while Joe focusses on getting his brother on board a ship.  Disaster sadly strikes and Joe disappears for years on end.  He eventually returns amongst much publicity and has to get re-acquainted with family and friends.  4*

ISBN 1-84115-493-8

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