Sunday, February 26, 2017

All That Man IsAll That Man Is by David Szalay
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daunted once again by the skills of a young author, David Szalay, Canadian by birth and one of Granta's Top Novelists under Forty or whatever category they chose in 2013. All That Man Is at first is disconcerting because it is nine separate stories, largely unconnected, of dissatisfied men ages 17 to 73 at various stages in their lives, living in European countries such as Italy, Cyprus, England, Hungary, Croatia, Belgium, and contemplating their futures through an episode of failed relationships or financial doubt. Most of the tales contain "a maelstrom of despair" as bad luck. hopeless sex and missed opportunities take their toll yet I couldn't stop reading, even knowing I would leave this particular character at the end of the chapter. The men look in the mirror. often hungover, to see "a dead-eyed flaccidity...a flushed indifference" in contemplating their future and current crisis. "Let us love what is eternal and not what is transient" reads a description in a Ravenna abbey in the last chapter as the protagonist contemplates the final mysteries. [Note to sister who spurns bleak stories, you can skip this book.] Its structure grew on me as I too contemplate the greater schemes of life and what it is left after seven decades. Time passing is the author's answer, the only eternal thing.

View all my reviews

No comments :