Reads: The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay10:59 AM
Comic books! A book about comics, love, and WWII.
The novel begins in 1939, with 19 year old Josef "Joe" Kavalier, a Jewish refugee in New York City. He has come to live with his cousin Sammy Klayman, in hopes to make enough money to buy passage for the rest of his family to join him in the United States. Sammy has been hoarding an idea for a comic book for ages, and once he sees Joe's artwork, he gets enough confidence to present his idea to his boss at Empire Novelty, a novelty company. Their hero is The Escapist, on account of Joe having been trained as an escape artist in his youth.
The comic is a hit. However, life is not easy for Sammy and Joe. Joe struggles daily with becoming an American, while still trying to get his family over safely. Sammy struggles with adulthood, dealing with a controversial love interest, and not knowing how to handle the success of the comic, other than throwing himself into more work. And as the years go by, America changes, the comics change, and the cousins change.
Despite this vague description (not trying to spoil anything here), this book lives up to its title. I have never been overly fond of war books, they tend to be heart-wrenching, but this book takes on a whole new perspective. The reader gets a taste of not just the solders during the war, but of the struggles of the refugees, and the many different feelings and opinions of Americans during the war. We get to see Sammy and Joe fight Germany through controversial comic strips; the cover of the first issue shows The Escapist punching Hitler in the face.
Although a fictional tale, this is such an interesting take on something that has been written before, with a very different perspective. It also touches on other controversial topics like sex in the media, feminism and the roles of women during that time frame, homosexuality, and racism. I honestly cannot wait for Kyle to read this because I think it will be one of the few books that we will both obsesses over. Now, go read it!