The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay

Michael Chabon

One night in 1939, Josef Kavalier shuffles into his cousin Sam Clay’s cramped New York bedroom, his arduous and nerve-wracking escape from Prague finally achieved – with the help of his mentor, the master illusionist Kornblum. But little does he realise that this uneasy first meeting is the start of an extraordinary friendship and even more fruitful business partnership.

For Sam, Joe’s formidable artistic skills are a chance to liberate them both from lives as inventory clerks at the Empire Novelties Incorporated Company. Together, they create a comic strip called ‘The Escapist’, its superhero a Nazi-busting saviour who liberates the oppressed around the world with his Golden Key. ‘The Escapist’ makes them their fortune and their name, but, as the situation worsens in Europe, Joe can only think of one thing. How can he effect a real-life escape, and free his family from the tyranny of Hitler?

Michael Chabon’s exceptional new novel is a thrilling tight-rope walk between high comedy and bitter tragedy, and confirms his position as one of the most inventive and daring of contemporary American writers. In Joe Kavalier and Sam Clay, he has created two unforgettable characters bound together by love, family and cartoons. Their story, which ranges from the heady heights of the American Dream to the desperation and grief of World War II, and which journeys from New York and Czechoslovakia to the Arctic Circle, will live on in the mind of every reader long after the final page is turned.

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