According to Szalay, it appears that all men, of all ethnicities and from young adult to very old, are made up of obsessive desires for money and sex. Period. The title says “All” so that’s it, folks. The narrative shows several different men at different stages of life in the same year, going through the motions of living, but really only thinking about sex and money. These yuk-birds are an assortment of druggies, drunks, sex-addicts, and money-grubbing workaholics. Not one was sympathetic at all – I guess they’re looking for love in all the wrong places. Those were my first thoughts at any rate – and I wasn’t real happy with the novel.
All That Man Is
by David Szaylay
2016 / 369 pages
On second reading though I really picked up on a lot more. How similar the nine European men are who do their life journeys through this novel – or a portion of them anyway – a passage part. This is 21st century post-modern existentialism. They aren’t just “searching for meaning” they realize there is none. Well – the first story in which our protagonist, Simon, who is only 17 years old, is searching – the others have found it (Christian) or lost it (Murray and Alexander) or never did think much about it ( Bernal and Balázs).
It’s basically post-modern existentialism – I guess. They’re also at times of life changes – coming of age, falling in love, getting into a permanent relationship, Every story has some power-driven arguments. Several overlap in small ways.
The overarching metaphor (or conceit or something) of this book is that we are all on life’s journey. All the men are traveling – and for the most part – away from home. –
I really needed to read this one twice.