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All That Man Is

3.67  ·  Rating details ·  5,241 ratings  ·  711 reviews
Nine men. Each of them at a different stage in life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving -- in the suburbs of Prague, in an overdeveloped Alpine village, beside a Belgian motorway, in a dingy Cyprus hotel -- to understand what it means to be alive, here and now. Tracing a dramatic arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, the ostensibly sepa ...more
Paperback, 448 pages
Published September 22nd 2016 by Jonathan Cape
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3.67  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,241 ratings  ·  711 reviews

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Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Shortlisted for Man Booker prize 2016!


An interesting collection of short stories about men, probably better appreciated by blokes.

After reading about half of the stories I thought that if this is All Man Is, then we are all doomed. What I mean is that most of the men in the stories were annoying, some even despicable. Now, after finishing all of the stories I have a better opinion and understanding of what the author tried to do with this book.

The book consists of nine stories which presen
I’ve just found my best book of the year…in a year filled with best books. Szalay (pronounced SOL-loy) writes nine stories about men, different men, each approximately seven years older than the man preceding him. The men are Europeans, visiting or living in a country not their own. The youngest man is seventeen, the oldest is seventy-three. I laughed my way through this tragicomic look at what it means to be a man, for Szalay put in more than enough to qualify this as the best sort of literatur ...more
Feb 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada, inglese, racconti

La copertina: fotografia di Luke Smalley.

Cos’è questo libro? Perché colpisce, cresce dentro, s’insinua, penetra, cattura, avvince…?

Non è scorrevole da leggere perché ogni 45 pagine cambia tutto, protagonista, ambiente, personaggi intorno, trama.

E poi, quale trama? Succedono tante cose, però la sensazione vincente è che non succeda nulla, almeno nulla di speciale: anche se c’è nell’aria un suicidio, un aborto, una morte, un naso spaccato a pugni, una giovane che si
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Just finished and thought but didn't say aloud what a great fucking book. Now it's first thing the next morning and I'll try to collect my thoughts in text: my mother started recommending this in the fall but I was in the middle of The Sleepwalkers and wasn't reading so many pages a day, meaning it would be months until I read something else, plus the title seemed unrememberable and maybe excessively manly (it's ultimately sort of ironic: time reduces "all that man is" to nothing). She kept sayi ...more
Aug 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
I found this to be an entirely uneven read, the individual short stories not seeming to connect enough to be considered a novel. I would rather Szalay had reversed the order- the youthful protagonists of the first offering were irritatingly dull and I'm sure it negatively affected my enthusiasm for the rest of the work. As the stages of life progressed, the people became more interesting (is that the point, maybe? I'm not sure) but I never felt like I discovered anything profound about human beh ...more
Aug 30, 2016 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Antonomasia by: 2016 Booker Longlist
Leaving aside the over-ambitious title for a minute, David Szalay's best writing is about ordinary working life, the bits of existence disproportionately absent from the world of literary fiction, where the jobs most people have are replaced with stories of writers, artists and perhaps the odd high-flying lawyer. That understanding of working life has a chance to come through in some of these nine stories/sections about white British or European men of increasing age: however I think that only o ...more
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Jan 02, 2017 rated it liked it
If you're interested in reading this collection of thematically linked stories, then you've likely read the publisher's blurb. We get nine stories of white, 8/9ths straight, European men who are traveling to destinations across Europe that are not home to them. Whether it is a holiday or business that puts them in planes, trains, and automobiles, their temporary displacement affords them a moment here or there to ponder Life. The men seem to portray a universal European "Every Man."

We see the p
Having finished reading this year's Man Booker shortlist, I decided to go back to the one that eluded me last year. I recall that at the time much of the debate was about whether such a disconnected set of stories should be regarded as a novel, and having read it now I am not entirely convinced. It does have some thematic unity - each of the nine parts focuses on a different man, in a different part of Europe, struggling with a crisis of confidence, and they do get progressively older as the boo ...more
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I read, and loved, ‘London and the South-East’, an earlier book by David Szalay - click here to read my review. The day after I finished it, this, David Szalay’s latest book ‘All That Man Is’, made the 2016 Booker Prize Shortlist, a development that made me even keener to read it. My expectations were high.

Just like ‘London and the South-East’, ‘All That Man Is’ is a melancholic, downbeat novel. I say novel but this is a tad contentious as the book contains nine short stories about nine differe
Evi *
Dec 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Non é che dopo avere letto questi racconti sapremo finalmente che cosa è un uomo, perché in questi nove racconti non sono concentrati nove tipi umani maschili.
La ricchezza e la variabilità dell'animo maschile non può, non deve essere ricondotta a dei casi, e solo la letteratura di genere, che so un thriller con l'uomo sempre impavidamente sprezzante del pericolo o la letteratura pornografico con i suoi maschi perennemente vigorosi e pronti si arroga un così presuntuoso obiettivo che invece Szala
May 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"Una passeggera immersione nella trama dell'esistenza"

Uomini in viaggio. Viaggio di piacere, viaggio di lavoro, viaggio come modus vivendi. Viaggio in un luogo fisico, ma anche viaggio nel tempo, viaggio in ultima istanza come metafora della vita.

Sono tutti uomini in movimento, quelli descritti, in questa splendida raccolta. Movimento esteriore ed interiore. Uomini fotografati in momenti apparentemente banali ma in realtà cruciali delle proprie esistenze.
Davanti a un bivio, scelte che spesso son
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook, racconti
Nove ritratti di uomini di età e condizioni diverse, il cui denominatore comune è la vita o meglio l’improvvisa percezione della vita come entità a sé stante, indipendente dalla loro volontà. È una sorta di folgorazione che li coglie in movimento, lontani dai luoghi abituali. Il silenzio di una notte in una città sconosciuta, il modo in cui la luce colpisce un vetro, i primi rumori in una stanza d’albergo al mattino sembrano innescare un meccanismo per cui il viaggio diventa sguardo interiore, i ...more
À la guerre

Si può viaggiare restando fermi, si può stare fermi anche viaggiando.
Si può restare inchiodati alle proprie inadeguatezze, mancare di accorgersi di essere a un punto di svolta, a un incrocio importante della propria esistenza.
Mancare di ascoltare, mancare di guardare, mancare di esserci e così, in assenza di determinatezza e di definizione, non accorgersi di aver mancato quella svolta, di aver lasciato che la propria esistenza corresse per proprio conto.
Sono nove vite minuscole, quell
Peter Boyle
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: booker-nominee
"You learn to love what's there, not what's not there. How can you live, otherwise?"

Is it a novel or a loosely-connected collection of short stories? That was the main bone of contention when All That Man Is was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2016. Whatever the classification of this worthy tome, I enjoyed it a great deal (much more than the actual winner, in fact).

Each of the nine stories portrays a man at a different stage in his life, from 17-year-old Simon, backpacking around Europe and
In a riff on the Ages of Man (four, five or seven, depending on which classical source you turn to), Szalay gives nine vignettes of men trying to figure out what life is all about. His antiheroes range from age 17 to 73. Each section has several chapters and follows a similar pattern: a man from one European country travels to another European country; there are lots of scenes set at airports or otherwise in transit, and part of the overall atmosphere of dislocation is simply the effort of havin ...more
May 07, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Un gran bel libro (doppie grazie Lorin). Originale soprattutto, per senso e struttura, anche se la cosa migliore è la scrittura. Senza quella, senza quella qualità non avrebbe retto. Un falso minimalismo. Sembra vetro ed è cristallo. Sfaccettature di senso, limpidezza di descrizione, capacità di cogliere e scomporre nel dettaglio la luce delle cose e del modo in cui vendono viste e vissute. Ma anche fragilità. Un meccanismo delicato, in cui il lettore deve entrare e non distrarsi, prestare atten ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“C’è una stagione per ogni cosa, e un tempo per ogni faccenda sotto il cielo".

E il tempo, come pure i luoghi, segnano la differenza tra le storie dei nove personaggi maschili che compongono l’eccellente narrazione di Szalay in questo libro. Il tempo (e un luogo d’origine, l’ Inghilterra) è anche il filo che unisce i racconti.
Stagioni della vita diverse determinano pensieri, comportamenti, azioni : dell’adolescenza è tipica l’incertezza, della giovinezza la spavalderia, dell’età matura il consol
Gumble's Yard
Series of 9 novellas – the main protagonist of which is always male and which progress obviously through ages (from gap year to retirement).

The stories in turn feature:

Two gap-year travellers staying with a Czech (absent) husband and wife, who possibly wants to seduce the main character but to his disappointment seduces his friend instead when the main character does not respond;

A Frenchman on a very cheap holiday in a terrible hotel in Cyprus whose search for hedonism fails but who instead sl
Héctor Genta
Apr 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fotografando l’anima del tempo.
Con il nuovo millennio la bussola della letteratura mondiale sembra essersi decisamente spostata verso la Vecchia Europa: Cărtărescu, Volodine, Gospodinov, Énard, Tom McCarthy… scrittori accomunati dal fatto di non appartenere a nessuna corrente letteraria comune ma di seguire ognuno un percorso diverso e personale.
Cărtărescu, Volodine, Gospodinov, Énard, McCarthy… e David Szalay, potremmo dire adesso, anche se in questo caso si tratta di un autore europeo solo per
Oct 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: best-of-2017
Within the eternity of time there is only a mystery-only a sense that there is something that we will never know or understand. An empty, unknowable space. Like, in Sant'Apollinare Nuovo, that mosaic of the curtains opening to show us nothing, only a patch of plain golden tiles.

Nine men at different stages of their lives, portrayed through nine months of one year and nagging in the back of my mind as I read was that question: Really? Is this ALL that man is? For barely one of them is at home in
Quanti si ricordano come il sottoscritto dei fumetti di Nick Carter? Alla fine quasi sempre il protagonista, scoperto il malfattore, precisava che non si trattava di XYZ, bensì di Stanislao Moulinski, in uno dei suoi più riusciti travestimenti. Ecco, letta questa raccolta di racconti mi sono trovato a domandarmi se dietro le sembianze mascoline di David Szalay non si celi per caso una qualche menade del femminismo androfobo e oltranzista, una sorta di Solanas rediviva (e ciarliera, visto che si ...more
Average writer writes average fiction about average men and is nominated for an award bc he captures the average man.

If i wanted to read this sort of stuff I'd read one of those focus pieces in esquire or gq.
Roger Brunyate
Aug 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
And That's All?

I considered many possibilities for the title of this review: first The Nine Ages of Man, then Holidays from Hell, then Losers. David Szalay's nine stories feature men at different stages of their lives, they are all set abroad, and they are uniformly depressing. Although there is only one small connection between them (the 73-year-old reired diplomat in the ninth story is the grandfather of the 17-year-old student in the first), the publisher's blurb suggests that they "aggregate
vi macdonald
Well this book...exists? I honestly have no opinion on this, this is possibly the least I have cared about a book in a while. I didn't hate it. But I didn't like it either. I just read it and thought "huh, well that happened" and then went off to do more stimulating activities, like eating paper while staring at a blank concrete wall.
Paul Fulcher
Sep 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: booker-2016, 2016
"You were nearly a novel my little cherry pip. Yes. Out you popped, out of your author's tumkin, and everyones shouting: “It’s a novel, it’s a novel!” And then someone said: “But it hasn’t got recurrent characters and a story arc!” And then I said: “A novel without recurrent characters and a story arc? God be praised, it’s a miracle. A novel without recurrent characters and a story arc!” And then Sir Thomas More pointed out that a novel without recurrent characters and a story arc is a short sto ...more
Sep 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 21st-century, british
3.5 to 4 stars

This was a welcome cleanse from Eileen.

David Szalay is erudite, cerebral and wise beyond his years. And sometimes a little boring.

In this work, he's woven the "everyday" lives of men into a wonderful tableau that offers the reader time to pause and reflect on the stages of one's life. He offers insight and wisdom by painting the minutiae of life so beautifully that one reconsiders the actions of one's life and realizes ... yes, it really was a work of art, having lived through tho
Nov 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
All That Man Is is called a novel, but not really. Short stories? I suppose. But not really. It's a chronicle not of man but men, different ones, each older than the other as the book progresses. So, just as you get with short stories, there's a complete shift in gears and reinvestment in new characters as you go.

Sort of. The "sort of" part is that these very different men with very different personalities and tastes living in very different circumstances are, in many ways, one. Call it the "Ev
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars Man Booker Short-list 2016

The Man Booker prize is awarded to NOVELS. I think it is a stretch to call this a novel. It is nine loosely connected stories but who am I to argue with the Booker committee?

There are nine stories that make up this "novel" each with a male protagonist of increasing age. The first and last story are the most directly connected but they all share several recurring elements and themes. The main one being that each protagonist is suffering some sort of existentia
Sep 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nove racconti con protagonista l'uomo (maschio) costruiti bene e... non finiti: buone storie, cioè, volutamente lasciate in sospeso, con il lettore spinto ad assemblare i vari pezzi, in un collage di umanità varia. Tale scelta stilistica genera qualche perplessità, peraltro in gran parte fugata dall'elevata qualità della scrittura.
while of the 3 completed parts so far only the first was new for me (two 17 year old English boys, Simon, introspective and Ferdinand, outgoing, taking a trip to Europe, with stops in Berlin and Prague - very good story though the weakest of the 3), I really enjoyed reading the full story of Emma, Balasz and Gabor of which about 1/2-2/3 appeared in the Granta 123 (best of young English novelist 4 as Europa) and re-reading the story of Bernhard's Cypriot vacation which appeared fully in a Paris r ...more
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The Mookse and th...: 2016 Shortlist: All That Man Is 50 76 Oct 08, 2016 07:55AM  
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David Szalay (born 1974 in Montreal, Quebec) is an English writer.

He was born in Canada, moved to the UK the following year and has lived there ever since. He studied at Oxford University and has written a number of radio dramas for the BBC.

He won the Betty Trask Award for his first novel, London and the South-East, along with the Geoffrey Faber Memorial Prize. Since then he has written two other
“Yesterday he experienced a sort of dark afternoon of the soul. Some hours of terrible negativity. A sense, essentially, that he had wasted his entire life, and now it was over. The sun was shining outside.” 2 likes
“The passage of time. That is what is eternal, that is what has no end. And it shows itself only in the effect it has on everything else, so that everything else embodies, in its own impermanence, the one thing that never ends.” 1 likes
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