For no particular reason, I devoted the month of April to reading books by women, mostly fictional books. Some of these books I adored, while others I found less engaging. Despite my theme of ‘women”, I could not find any overarching leitmotif, a common element to connect these books together.
As April gave way to May, it was time to read books by the neglected men. However, I slipped and read The Woman Upstairs by Claire Messud. Still, May remains a month for male writers, and three books in particular stand together: This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper, You by Austin Grossman, and, most recently, Double Feature by Owen King.
The common element of “being a man” instinctively links these books together, and recalls elements of a book that I read back in January, Truth in Advertising by John Kenney, and though I to use prefer American authors as my example, definitely reminiscent of Nick Hornby.
Now, despite enjoying these tropes, I found all books to be, I’m not sure how to put it, slightly exclusionary. These books were about men and their devices: movies, advertising, video games, Shiva. But despite being stories that involved the path of all men, these novels seemed to only concern the path of these men. The books were about men from all walks of life, and yet read like solitary walks. I walk alone.