Reviews

All That Man Is by David Szalay

jfaberrit's review against another edition

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2.0

I can't say that I'm surprised there is a pretty strong gender differential in reviews of this book from a quick scan of the Goodreads page... but I don't really see what the male readership saw in this book. As a look at men at various stages of life, it's vision is so narrow and limited that the title seems like an ironic joke. The worst stories are admittedly the ones up front, basically involving young, aimless men who act disaffectedly in foreign countries while either having sex or not having sex with random foreign women to whom they aren't really attracted anyway. This is followed by failures at careers, then failures at life. I think Monty Python showed an deeper and more multi-faceted understanding of the Meaning of Life, and their jokes were infinitely better as well. Overall, a blinkered, narrow view of the world, spanning countries but barely scratching the surface of human feeling.

miasmuts's review against another edition

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5.0

pacing - perfect. gripping 
characters - round. insane that he was able to introduce nine vivid protagonists in about 40 pages each. 
themes, messages; meaning - the way he was able to bring across such a clear message, without ever making it abundantly "clear". you just know. allows you to feel and let that feeling drive your understanding.
style & imagery - beautiful writing. fraught with elusive metaphors. at times interesting structure contributing to the plot. 

a very unique book. 
in a sense open to interpretation (while still holding firm on the vulnerability, the humanness of man) 

oxnard_montalvo's review against another edition

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Unhappy men go about their lives with varying degrees of self awareness. Loosely connected stories of detatchment and disillusionment, and a certain amount of bleakness, but also humour. Szalay is really skilled at sketching a brief outline that somehow manages to be full of detail and feeling. Characters as well as setting shimmer. Plotwise, not a lot going on. He catches people in the little mundane, in between moments; all the same, the strength of his writing propels things forward.

j32em's review against another edition

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challenging lighthearted reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.0

Was not invested in this so I cannot tell you what happened

nataliebeech's review against another edition

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challenging emotional funny reflective sad medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? Yes
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.5

niionatan01's review against another edition

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emotional mysterious reflective fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? Yes
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.75

myles79's review against another edition

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emotional reflective sad fast-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? A mix
  • Strong character development? It's complicated
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

tomstbr's review against another edition

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5.0

Goddamn masterful.

iains33's review against another edition

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emotional funny reflective medium-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? Yes
  • Loveable characters? It's complicated
  • Diverse cast of characters? No
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

4.0

canjackread's review against another edition

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challenging emotional reflective slow-paced
  • Plot- or character-driven? Character
  • Strong character development? No
  • Loveable characters? No
  • Diverse cast of characters? It's complicated
  • Flaws of characters a main focus? Yes

3.5

While this book was incredibly written, I found myself searching for reasons to care about many of the characters. Selfish, sex obsessed, disloyal men repeatedly disappointed me while reading. I feel that this book paints a portrait of masculinity that is pessimistic and wasteful. I would have liked to see some positive models of masculinity at least sprinkled through out. Despite this, I was taken aback with how easy to read and vividly illustrative this book was. Every character was written with such depth of feeling which made me feel like I was every age from 17 to 73. Great writing, awful characters. But I guess that’s the point.