The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier Clay - by Michael Chabon
"Sam and Joe create superheroes in comic books and become wealthy."
The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay takes place in New York during the Second World War. Josef Kavalier, a Jew from Czechoslovakia, comes to live with his cousin Samuel Klayman. Joe needs to earn money to bring his family to America before the Nazis take over Czechoslovakia. Joe is a skilled artist who studied at the finest schools in Eorupe before escaping from the threat of Nazi invasion. Sammy Klayman, who changes his name to Sammy Clay, is also an artist, self-taught. Together they create superheroes and comic books, their most famous being the Escapist, who is able to break from any prison or chain to fight Hitler and the other forces of evil and to free the innocent. Joe and Sam's comics become successful and they both become very wealthy. Now Joe must fight to free his family from warfare in Europe, alongside his lover, Rosa Saks and his best friend and cousin, Sam Clay.
Besides forming an intricate and interesting adventure story, this book also gives insight to American life in the 1940's and 50's that is often overlooked, such as the corrupted beaurocracy, forbidden homosexuality, and the superficiality of the American Dream. Michael Chabon is a great writer with a descriptive and contemporary style that will thrill the avid reader. He includes all aspects of good fiction: romance, adventure, secrecy, and controversy. Some YA readers will have problem with the length, but it's a really good read.