Can you have a mancrush as a woman? I do. This book was a requested Christmas present. I loved Bakopoulos' first book so much I decided to dig into his second. In addition, I had requested (ok wheedled) a quotation out of him for my own soon-to-be-published novel, and it was in my interests to check out his entire body of work.
I was not to be disappointed. DB's debut is a beautiful, accurate, frank book about the cloying feeling of being half-conscious in your own life, of looking at everything through an unwashed pane of glass and realising that while the cast might change over the years the scenery is, in fact, the same. This is a feeling that happens to young and old, and its always interesting to me how often these quiet, conscientious, philosophical books are passed over in favour of plotty thrillers by publishers.
It does, however, have a plot: the year Michael Smolij turns 19, his father, and all the fathers in his blue-collar 'burb of Detroit, disappear. Myth has it, they've gone to the moon.
As the years pass, the economy continues to run the gamut from crap to awful, and Mikey and his friends move into the roles their own fathers wandered away from. Now they too begin to feel the pull of the moon.
It's a feeling that seems a little like vertigo - as if, as much as they know it will be worse if they leave, they feel the pull of the other, more dangerous, lonely road. Bakopoulos portrays it too, a little like disappointment, self-hatred and fear, as Mike realises you don't metamorphosize into a father or a husband, you just continue to be who you are, and the pressures mount like passing time.
It gave me fearful shivers.