Disjointed vignettes about finding love on the Internet.
Cast Hughes is depressed and reeling from a recent divorce from an exotic Egyptian woman. Once a competitive bicycle racer but now middle-aged and lonely, he seeks solace and romance through Internet chat and dating websites. Short pieces dominate the bulk of the book, sketching Cast’s encounters with women from around the world–some beautiful, some successful and some scam artists. There is a Moroccan prostitute, a Lithuanian real-estate mogul and a Russian schoolteacher, but they all have one thing in common: They want to have sex with Cast, some flying halfway across the globe to do so. But there is little sense of connection between the sketches, and the stories–or the occasional passage of banal pop-philosophy inserted into them–aren’t nearly interesting or shocking enough to carry the narrative. After a few pages, it begins to feel like a series of anecdotes one might hear in a high-school locker room. The women’s descriptions are filled with the observations and ethnic stereotypes one might expect from adolescents, and the author’s stubborn refusal to develop the lead character is frustrating. Though Cast is supposedly schizophrenic, his mental illness plays no role in the larger narrative other than occasional assertions, which disappear halfway through the book. He eventually finds an online love, a Ukrainian woman who moves to the U.S. to marry him, after which they partake in typical couples activities: a honeymoon in Hawaii, shopping and visiting Disney World.
Shallow and drenched in stereotype, these confessions are better left unread.