Friday, 26 August 2011

Something for the weekend.....

The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon

This book is more likely to be something for several weekends as it comprises of 656 fantastically well written pages, deservedly winning the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2001.

I had just finished reading Chabon’s ‘The Yiddish Policeman’s Union’ (anyone partial to a bit of ‘Noir’ should definitely give this a try) & was looking for something engrossing to read on holiday, so ‘Kavalier & Clay’ seemed to fit the bill nicely.

The story begins in 1939 & centres on two cousins, Sam Clay & Josef Kavalier. Josef, amateur magician & gifted draughtsman, has escaped to New York from his native Prague to live with Sam just as the Nazis are tightening their grip on Europe. His main concern is to earn enough money to bring the rest of his family to America. Together Sam & Joe create a comic strip featuring ‘The Escapist’, a Houdini inspired, Nazi-busting superhero, who aims to liberate the oppressed of the world.

What follows is a brilliantly realised portrayal of the Golden Age of the comic book in America, which serves as a background to the very human drama unfolding in the lives of the main characters. Chabon is able to combine humour with moments of real poignancy while maintaining a narrative which will keep you turning those pages.

This is an adventure story, a love story, a story about real heroes as well as the caped variety. Read it & weep.

Steve Orchard

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