Top positive review
2 people found this helpful
this is a book about the fear of change
on May 6, 2012
I came upon this as part of an arbitrary project of reading all the Thurber Prize winners and finalists (a very mixed bag so far). Instead of a "funny" book, I found a novel that reminded me of the John Cheever novella or short story, "The Swimmer", in which another middle aged fellow assigns himself an athletic endeavor, and his pursuit of what should be a one day event takes on a surreal dimension, transforming itself into a dissection of his insecurities and failures. The Other Shulman ends on a lighter note than Cheever's short story, in fact, a note in which Shulman surmounts the fears that had been his nemesis. It also reminded me of another book: It shares with Annie Proulx's novel "The Shipping News" an aura of magical realism in which the physically impossible happens, and in doing so, determines the story's outcome.
Zweibel is an adept psychologist. He has the knack of conveying a great deal about his characters in only a few lines of dialogue. I'd like to read more of his work.