Kavalier & Clay – by Michael Chabon
I read this novel after discovering Chabon in The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, which is a nice “hardboiled” (not that much) detective story that imagines an alternate history. I already liked the style, freedom and the playfulness of the writing, and the human thickness of the characters. So then I got Kavalier & Clay: and there, there is more, much more. Though the characters are somehow less real, the story somehow inconsistent (Sammy’s suddenly abandoning fatherhood after 12 years…), written by a younger writer, the novel manages the rare feat of evoking in detail and with competence the early world of comics, the beauty and innovation of the ideas needed.
And this set in New York of the late thirties, drawn in dark inked backgrounds, with the shape of jewish Prague outlined on the background… beautiful. Its a graphic novel where the graphics are only described in language! I obviously have a penchant for graphic novels, though I am not an enthusiast of the superheroes here depicted, and through this book one can learn a lot also about comics creation. It is one of those books that used the author to get written.
When a novel sails through a body of knowledge managing to respect its nature, it is a great result: another example of such is Measuring the World (Die Vermessung der Welt) by Daniel Kehlmann.