“The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay” tells the story of Sam Clay and Josef Kavalier, two Jewish cousins who, in the late 1930’s, come up with what is to become a successful comic book hero, “The Escapist”. The Escapist’s power is to bring freedom to those who are held in chains, both real and metaphorical. In the cover of the first issue of the comic, the hero is shown punching Hitler in the face.

In 1939, Sam is a young man who dreams vaguely of working in comic books. He is good at coming up with stories, but his drawing leaves something to be desired. One night, his mother wakes him up to tell him he is to share his room with Josef Kavalier, his cousin who has just arrived from Prague, via Japan.

Back in Prague, Josef Kavalier had been trained as an Escape artist, and it is with the help of his old teacher that he manages to leave the country, along with the legendary Golem of Prague. His family, however, is left behind, and in American he puts away all the money he earns with his art to finance their rescue, and to help support them once they manage to join him. His newfound freedom is permeated with a constant sense of guilt – he doesn’t think it’s fair that he escaped, while thousands of others, including his loved ones, were left in the hands of the Nazis.

Normally I like to post my full reviews here, but this time - perhaps because this is a 600+ pages book - I had a lot to say, and I ended up writing much more than I normally do. So I'm posting a link to the rest of my review, which can be found here.