Shifrin spins a young man’s self-exploratory journey into a dramatic story brimming with humor, political satire, and unexpected poignancy. Livingstone Modicai Ackerman—Liv, to his friends—is tired of accommodating an overbearing girlfriend and elaborately narcissistic parents. His job is tedious and soul gutting, and to make things worse, the current political environment is off putting to say the least. As Liv becomes increasingly restless, he decides to leave everything behind and set on a journey of self-discovery. The very start of the novel is heavy going, but soon the narrative takes hold, bringing the pacing to a swift mode. Shifrin is convincing in both his appraisal of the chaotic political situation and in his life philosophizing. With his gift for precise characterization, he sketches a realistic portrait of Liv’s psychological tug of war between finding integrity as an individual and satisfying the demands of those close to him. Shifrin’s pacing is smooth and storytelling evocative as he conveys his characters’ individual angst as well as their quest for meaning and significance in a world devoid of humanity and hope.
Writing in crisp, intelligent prose, Shifrin infuses this compelling tale with charm, wit, and moving emotions. This breathlessly readable and satirical and yet poignant tale deserves a wide audience.