Two Frogs
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The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay

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by Michael Chabon
Date Reviewed: May 13, 2003

This was easily one of the best books I’ve ever read. The writing was so compelling, and the characters were so real, you felt as if you were right there on the street with them. I’ve never seen anyone pay such attention to the senses – particularly how things smell – that Chabon did. The story is of two Jewish boys – one a native New Yorker, one a European Jew fleeing Hitler’s Nazi expansion – who launch a new comic book hero. For one, the dream is to get rich. For the other, the dream is to strike a blow (however futile) back at the Nazis, and to earn enough to bring his family over. What follows is a tale so tragic, so hopeful, so real, it carries you along. The characters are flawed – both physically and psychologically. They struggle with issues of morality, dependence, duty, faith, and love. The ending was only a disappointment in that you want to stay in the characters’ world. You want to keep living with them, to find out where they go next, what they do, who they meet, where life takes them. It speaks volumes to Chabon’s mastery of language that a story about such a visual subject – comic books! – is told without a single visual image, and yet is told so incredibly well. Definitely a must-read!

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