This is a tour de force novel about comic books and about the Holocaust. About unrequited love and the inherent burden of survival when so many people haven’t. Joe Kavalier and Sam Klayman are cousins who would find themselves in multiple fronts of history: from the beginnings of Hitler’s advance in Europe, to the burgeoning industry that will be known as the Golden Age of Comics Books in America. Chabon interweaves world events with his characters’ rich personal lives and although the book is fiction, there’s a lot of details regarding the often cutthroat industry the comics business was back then.There’s also a lot of good-natured ribbing about the over-the-top quality of dialogue and sound effects, but the books are never mean about what it means to be a geek. It understands that for most people, it can be a sort of escape. During an era when people’s choices are either to succumb to the despair of the Great Depression or stoically wait for the inevitable war as Hitler continues his path of destruction, escapism takes on a more noble purpose.I know this book isn’t perfect, and I can tell which parts of it seem to plodding, or the instances when the themes and the plot points don’t add up together. I also think Michael Chabon’s writing has improved in his subsequent novels. But there’s something about the aching quality of this book that continues to haunt me. Plus, it has one of the most tragic love stories for me. I’m all sadfaced thinking about it.