Impossible To Be Human

Impossible To Be HumanImpossible To Be Human by Robert Kalich
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A thought-provoking, humorous, and reflective novel...

IMPOSSIBLE TO BE HUMAN by Robert Kalich tells the story of David Lazar who is baffled by his clandestine meetings in his NYC penthouse with Duck, the US president. The two of them mirror all that is opposed in American society and echo the doubt about whether these divisions can be bridged. Can we accept irreconcilable contradictions? Can people change? And what does it mean to be human?

In summarizing the synopsis we find David Lazar analyzing his achievements by examining his life and character. Were inconsistencies acceptable? Changeable? What's human? Lazar is slowly confronting the dispassionate, heartless individual he was before norms and domestication. He wonders whether his wife has redeemed him. Can a motivated sports handicapper who ascended "Mt. Gamble" become a loving, caring spouse and father? Can writing his life narrative heal him? … Lazar's covert encounters with Duck, the US president, add to life's paradoxes. They go back a very long time, to the days when David was Duck's object of admiration. Lazar opposes Duck's bigotry, selfishness, and callousness. They reflect everything that divides American culture and the uncertainty that these divisions can be addressed. Lazar detests these secret encounters, but he's becoming Duck's confidant while knowing he's betraying those he loves… Covid-19 spreads the fragility of existence. Death is palpable. Counting his blessings only increases his dread of loss. Lazar tries to aid the poor, but his own limits plague him. What's the significance of it all? … David did everything wrong, but he got fortunate in old age, says Lazar's twin.

IMPOSSIBLE TO BE HUMAN is an incredibly well-written novel. Few writers have the unique ability to create a striking contrast between the tone of their writing and the subject matter they cover. Kalich gives his sentences the same level of consideration as he does with his plot, and he is able to modify or consolidate meaning with the use of a single word. His writing is impeccable, and it is full of juxtapositions and qualifications that help to create what could be described as an allegory about fears and anxiety, about the place of the sensitive person, the thinker, and the human, within modern society's current social order, in a world in which human beings are the only animals who despair of their lives.

Highly recommended and a well-deserved five stars from me. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

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