Monday, November 7, 2016

All That Man Is by David Szalay

In this Booker longlisted novel, David Szalay gives the reader a glimpse into the lives of nine different men to represent the state of maleness in our time.  Some are young, some at the end of their lives.  Some are fabulously rich while others are barely making ends meet.  Some are in great physical condition while others are facing the limitations of age and the inevitability of death.  They interact with women, some in love that is unrequited, some facing the possibility of new life with a woman.

What binds these men and these stories together is the reaching out for connection and often, the impossibility of doing so.  A couple who is truly connected is rare and blessed.  Too many either miss the connection, straining towards each other but always missing, or the links are tattered and frayed by age.  The couple has forgotten the joy of total connection and has let the relationship go limp with disinterest.

David Szalay is considered one of the new stars of literature.  He was chosen as one of Granta's Best Of Young British Novelists in 2013.  His novels have reaped critical acclaim.  Prior novels have won the Betty Trask Prize and the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize.  This anthology has won the 2016 Paris Review Plimpton Prize for Fiction as well as the Man Booker longlist for 2016.  It is recommended for readers interested in anthologies and the state of men's relationships in contemporary life.

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