Book Review: All That Man Is by David Szalay


Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016, All That Man Is was a surprising choice as it seems to be a bo
ok of short stories interwoven by some tenuous links which don’t appear until right at the end of the book.

Szalay essentially runs through a man’s life by looking at nine different men at nine different areas of life.  We start with Simon, a student on a gap year with his friend Ferdinand moving to Tony who is in his 80s (who ends up as Simon’s grandad – the ONLY link between the chapters…) nearing the end of his life.

Whilst I enjoyed reading each of the ‘chapters’ and getting to know each of the new Men one would be forgiven for thinking it would have been better for Szalay to have portrayed his life of man through one central character visited at different points in his life.  It became rather frustrating having to reinvest time in yet a new character and wondering what happened to the men I left behind.

The overall feeling I had when reading this book was: if this is All That Man is he is one depressed and lonely being with an acute obsession with women and money.  The women in this book were portrayed as sex objects and I felt that this was an area which Szalay failed to really develop.

Recommended for: short story lovers

Rating: 3/5

Favourite quote: “The passing of time  Thats is what is eternal, that is what has no end.”

Thanks for reading – I hope you enjoyed it!

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