Title: All That Man Is
Author: David Slazay
Pages: 437 Pages
Publisher: Jonathan Cape
Nine men. Each of them at a different stage of life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving – in the suburbs of Prague, beside a Belgian motorway, in a cheap Cypriot hotel – to understand just what it means to be alive, here and now.
Tracing an arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, All That Man Is brings these separate lives together to show us men as they are – ludicrous and inarticulate, shocking and despicable; vital, pitiable, hilarious, and full of heartfelt longing. And as the years chase them down, the stakes become bewilderingly high in this piercing portrayal of 21st-century manhood.
My very good friend Shirley suggested that we tried to read the 6 shortlisted books for the Man Booker Prize. Two books in and I have given up. What a load of twaddle.
All That Man Is by David Slazay is, according to the blurb on Amazon, a ‘piercing portrayal of 21st-century manhood.’ Hmmm, I instantly got the speech from Bridget Jones Diary in my head when Bridget is caught making a personal phone call and then tries to describe the book she is hosting a campaign for as ‘a searing vision of the wounds our century has inflicted on traditional masculinity. It’s positively Vonnegut-esque.’ Essentially, I thought this book was a bit pointless but then again I am not exactly its targeted reader.
The book is written well. The quality of writing is not under question, however, for me, the stories in All That Man Is just didn’t resonate.
All That Man Is by David Slazay is available now.