Thursday, July 11, 2013

Zinsky the Obscure, by Ilan Mochari

Ariel Zinsky thinks he is unlike most men his age.  A thirty year old bachelor still scarred from an abusive childhood, Ariel has trouble having healthy relationships with women, and pours all his blood, sweat, and tears into his dream of creating a publication centered on the annual NFL draft.  While everyone else around him seems to be growing up and moving on, Ariel is stuck in the same patterns he has had since he went through puberty.

I really found myself strangely compelled by this book, and by the main character of Ariel.  Throughout the narrative, Ariel feels isolated, and unlike other men his age, but I think, in reality, his experience of adolescence melting into adulthood is pretty common among men.  I can imagine a lot of twenty and thirty something males reading this and thinking it sounds just like them.  While, at times, the subject matter may come across as juvenile (there is a lot, and I mean A LOT of talk about masturbation), I think instead the book is honest and starkly realistic of how life is for many lonely, wounded, socially awkward people.  

The thing that struck me about this book is how smart the writing is.  There are clearly a lot of allusions throughout the text to The Great Gatsby, as well as several other classic literary works, but there is also a blending of pop culture and modernity with those classical ideals.  The result is really fascinating.  Well read readers will appreciate the hidden nuances in the text.  Sure, there are things throughout the book that may make the reader a little squirmy and uncomfortable, but I see this as a strength of the writing.  This book is deep, and left me looking at my generation in a much different way.

I received a review copy courtesy of TLC Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.  See the rest of the tour here.

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