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According to the tenets of modern psychobabble, escapism is a serious no-no. But for Joe Kavalier, escape is the zenith of human cognition. In The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay, a novel by Michael Chabon, the author of Wonder Boys, Kavalier survives and thrives by perfecting the art of escape, both physical and mental. Thanks to his training in Houdini-like tricks, Kavalier slips out of Nazi-occupied Prague and travels to Brooklyn, where he meets his cousin Sammy Clay. Together, Kavalier and Clay create a successful comic-book series that features a hero appropriately dubbed the Escapist. Throughout the Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Chabon unveils his outlandish plot with dexterity and lyricism, and his tale illustrates the rise of the comic book as an art form in the 20th century and adds even more muscle to Chabon’s growing reputation as a literary superhero. He reads with Off Keck Road author Mona Simpson at 8 p.m. at the Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 East Capitol St. SE. $15. (202) 544-7077. (Felix Gillette)