An unapologetic, perverse, yet spiritual first novel that follows one man’s mistakes and triumphs when he learns that he can live forever.
David’s novel follows Israel “Izzy” Stern, a recent Boston University graduate living alone in Providence, R.I. All the family Izzy has is his grandfather’s friend, Uncle Jack, who meets with him at a Starbucks the summer after college to play chess, ogle the busts of coeds from Rhode Island School of Design and Brown, and for Uncle Jack to tell Izzy his secret—he’s immortal. Jack’s wisdom, money and immortality—a gift Izzy learns he shares with Uncle Jack—catapults Izzy from his life of womanizing and grappling with his insecurities to one of wandering, helping and learning. But Izzy’s transformation comes not without him first hitting rock bottom: “He had become a riches-to-rags cliché. Izzy too, like Aqualung had stared at young girls with bad intent. And Izzy, like Mrs. Robinson in the Simon and Garfunkel song, now prayed for a place in heaven with God. His agnosticism was now completely suspended due to his new low standing in the world.” David’s writing is punchy and incorporates lyrics to classic songs as well as pop culture and perversity. Although the occasional authorial interruption is distracting, David makes up for it with his honest prose that questions societies’ beliefs about God and discusses the growing problem of militant and persecutory views that jeopardize human lives. In the style of Salman Rushdie—though David is not quite as ambitious—magical realism is used to explore religion, spirituality and the state of our world today. This work should secure David a place within the genre as a writer who will tickle the reader, make her think and then take a hard look at the world around her. David’s compelling debut successfully incorporates pop culture, profanity and religion into a resonant exploration of existence.
Pub Date: Dec. 7, 2011
Page count: 145pp
Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2012
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2012
Kirkus Star: THE IMMORTALISTS
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