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Waiting for the Man
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Waiting for the Man

3.16  ·  Rating details ·  124 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Joe, a 35-year-old advertising copywriter for a slick New York company, feels disillusioned with his life. Soon he starts dreaming of a mysterious man and, not long after, begins seeing him on the street and hearing his voice. The voice overwhelms Joe and he starts to listen to it, camping out on the front steps of his stoop, waiting for instructions. The media take note. ...more
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published April 15th 2014 by ECW Press (first published April 1st 2014)
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Average rating 3.16  · 
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 ·  124 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Jul 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Dig into this novel to mine for rich insights into our human condition. Almost every page includes a thought, a turn of phrase, or a dreamy musing that will make you stop and say, 'Huh."

"The ultimate act of love is cleaning up after the object of your affection."

"To me everything in the world that was possible and laudable and not laudable and not smart culminated in a T-shirt."

This book is not plot-driven. To summarize: An advertising copywriter, Joe, sees a Man (that others can't see) and fo
Ann Douglas
Mar 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
By sheer coincidence, I read this book right after reading Joshua Ferris' novel The Unnamed (which is about a man who ends up walking away from his life for reasons beyond his control).

Waiting for the Man tackles a similar theme. In this case, an advertising copywriter named Joe, who has become a minor celebrity, chooses to drive/walk away from his life after heeding the voice of a mysterious man. The novel tells two stories in parallel: how Joe became a minor celebrity (and what that experienc
Luanne Ollivier
Waiting for the Man is Arjun Basu's debut novel.

Joe is a New York copywriter. He's good at his job, fairly happy and his success has brought him material wealth. Until he starts daydreaming in meetings, floating away from the boardroom and watching himself from above. And then he starts dreaming at night as well. Dreaming of the Man. The Man who tells him to wait. To wait for him. "He had created a need I didn't know I had."

And Joe does just that. He sits on the stoop of his building day and n
Feb 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Thirty-something advertising copywriter Joe doesn’t even realize something is wrong until he unwittingly turns his own professional expertise to perverse advantage on his own personal meltdown. Inexplicably disillusioned and disaffected with a career, lifestyle and life that many might find enviable, at least on the surface, Joe simply stops living that life one day and parks himself on his Manhattan stoop to wait for the Man to signal what he should do next. Who is the Man? Each reader who foll ...more
Kris V
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
There's no other book like this one, there simply isn't. It's an important book for today's cultural obsession with self-fulfillment and success.

To be continued...
Joseph Travers
Nov 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
This is not a good book. This made the Giller long list in 2014, and I have no idea why. Other than an interesting concept (about a guy who gives up everything to follow a voice he starts hearing), this book was annoying. The first third kind of intrigued me, as I wondered where the story would go, but as I read on the style of the writing irked me (kind of John Grisham-like... very pedestrian yet self-important), and **SPOILER ALERT**, I started to get the sense there would be no real resolutio ...more
Apr 01, 2014 rated it liked it
"Every religion and ideology has claimed my action as their own. My actions were never, really, mine. I never owned them." (p. 98)

Joe is just your average guy who like several people feels overworked and burned out. One night he has a dream of a man who tells him that he is waiting for him, and it is that one thing that causes him to leave his job and home in search of this mysterious man. What follows is more than just a story of one man’s journey; it becomes a sort of social commentary on thi
Mar 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
Unfortunately, this book was pretty disappointing. I read an ARC ebook that I got from the publisher. I posted a review on my blog when I was halfway through (, and all the criticisms I had then still stand.

Basically, the characters are unbelievable, the plot is boring, and the plot is also unbelievable. On top of all that, much of the novel is filled with truistic philosophising about life, meaning, the nature of the internet age, etc.

Sorry guys. I rea
Elizabeth (Literary Hoarders)
I thought the premise of this book was very creative, and I appreciated the messages that were peppered throughout. You can find many things in this book, from spirituality to a profound sadness as people desperately wait for direction in their lives. My only issue was that the journey lagged now and then, and the story would get mired in its own quest for meaning. Other than that, it was an interesting read.
Alexander Kosoris
Oct 25, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, sociology, ifoa
Long-time readers will probably know how often I like to go out on a limb and suggest some fairly outlandish things––making presumptions about deeper meanings or even an author’s mentality when settling in on specific techniques used. While the discussions that result can sometimes feel not far off from taking a stab in the dark, they usually come from impressions of something tangible within the work. Not far along in Waiting for the Man, I took particular notice of the prose. The narration is ...more
Doug Lester
Oct 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
I found Arjun's flippant, irreverent tone in perfect pitch for our time of social media over-saturation and cultural angst. The novel allows the reader to sit and wait for something to develop in the story and this slow build provides a creative tension. In the midst of the ennui there are brilliant observations and insights in the age of constant marketing. I love the final irony that in spite of a few insights the main character Joe has really only made a geographical shift. He is still waitin ...more
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a gem.

A student gave me this, said they'd really enjoyed it. Finally got around to reading and have to say I was more than just pleasantly surprised. I finished it early this morning and when I got to the last page I didn't immediately realize it, kept looking for more. The only disappointing thing about this read was reaching the end of it!

I even checked out the author bio only to find out he is a fellow Montrealer!

I highly recommend this to anyone who reads.
Mike Heenan
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Not to be read in a rush. Overflowing with thoughts to think about.
Heather Bonin
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Joe's literal and figurative journey of self-discovery had me tagging along but who I really wanted to get to know better was The Man. I suppose, so does Joe, and that's the point. ...more
Oct 23, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, can-con
I started having these dreams. I don't know what else to call them. Visions maybe. Nightmares. This thin black man in a floppy straw hat, dressed right out of the seventies, looking for all the world like a TV pimp. Like Huggy Bear from Starsky & Hutch. I never watched that show, it was before my time, but I remembered the character and now he was haunting my dreams. And this man, sometimes, later, would ride in on a white horse, a gigantic white horse with a mane that looked combed and neat and
Jul 07, 2014 rated it liked it
This is an interesting fiction that flows well with clever and witty statements. If you have read 'Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance' and liked it, you will like reading this one as well. Aside from the synopsis and story overview, this book analyzes impact of external expectations and media influence in our daily lives. This book takes an introspective view on the meaning of career and life through the main character.

The chapters alter between the beginning and the end. The story ends
Oct 09, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: contemporary, canada
Joe, a 35-year-old advertising copywriter for a New York company, appears to be happy and successful in a New-York-city way until he starts hearing voices in his head and sees "The Man" who encourages him to leave all behind in search of something that we the reader can interpret as we will, or perhaps never quite understand. Joe becomes a media-sensation with the help of small-time reporter Dan who needs to understand the end story in order to fulfill his needs. While Dan eventually finds what ...more
Joey Tanny
Dec 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
For anyone who's ever thought about leaving the ring road circus of the connected age, tweeting, facebook, 15 minutes of fame, climbing ladders, "working towards something that will come later hopefully before 65 and retire and go on a yacht trip around the Caribbean (if my back still works)", this book has a lot you will identify with.

Easy to read, quirky, fun...and might even push you over the edge to take the plunge, cut the cords, send you on an adventure that will help you discover yourself
Katherine Krige
I was given a copy of "Waiting for the Man" to review for a blog tour organized by ECW Press. Not only did I give my two cents worth on my blog, but I was lucky enough to be able to ask Arjun Basu a few questions as well. You can find my review and author interview at

~ A New Day

Arjun Basu
Dec 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor, giveaways
Joe has the perfect life as an advertising copywriter in New York city. He hears the voice of a Man. He looked like Huggy Bear from Starsky & Hutch and rode a white horse. "Wait" was his first message. So he waits. He picks up a blogger, a Japanese sidekick and a caravan of media while he answers the Mans call to "Go West".

Arjun Basu is famous for his Twitter 140-character short stories. Honest, witty social commentary!! Loved this book!
Raman K
Sep 26, 2014 rated it it was ok
Waiting for the Man was a book that I saw at Chapters. The summary on the back sounded awesome. However, it didn’t deliver for me. I think I was expecting the story to different from what it was. It was confusing how the main character was moving from past to present. It had a really good beginning and it is insightful about advertising but I finished the book with disappointment.
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Good but not great. Illuminating but not spectacularly enlightening. The most important aspect for me was in providing some new perspectives, or lenses, or perhaps tools, with which to understand some parts of who I am. So worth 4 stars to me!
Jan 02, 2015 rated it it was ok
It was okay. The writing style was choppy and annoying at times, and the ending was vague.
rated it it was ok
Nov 19, 2017
rated it it was amazing
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rated it liked it
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Biye Tambang
rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2019
Mel Watkins
rated it it was ok
Aug 14, 2014
rated it did not like it
Jul 07, 2019
rated it liked it
Jul 09, 2016
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I write. I do other stuff. My first book, Squishy, was published in 2008 and my first novel, Waiting for the Man, was published in 2014. I also write 140 character short stories on Twitter (@arjunbasu). You can also find a Writer page on Facebook. My website is ...more

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