This is basically a novel of post-modern existentialism – I guess. The men portrayed are all at different points in lives in different months of the same year – and realizing that life is meaningless, although some fight that idea. If the major contention of existentialism (as we’ve known it) is that the individual has to choose – we create our own lives – very few of these men choose to change, although they all have the opportunity to do that. Some would like to, some don’t want to at all, and some look like they maybe want to but …. I think a few of the nine do change. Of course, it’s too late for the last two. A couple of the men are somewhat sympathetic, most aren’t. Several stories overlap in small ways. The stories could be stand-alones, but the whole is so much bigger than the parts that I see it as a novel.
All That Man Is
by David Szaylay
2016 / 369 pages
Another 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 for the at least a part of the story. They are all white, English speaking, European men who travel in Europe for various reasons. The age of the men progresses from 17 to 80-something. The social classes differ from very wealthy to very poor.
They all have jobs and relationships with women. None of them has any kind of religion or practicing spirituality.