Sunday, July 28, 2013

Zinsky the Obscure by Ilan Mochari

"There are stories like Superman which require suspension of disbelief for maximum enjoyment. Then there are stories like mine -- real stories -- where for the most part, disbelief need not be suspended. There are no flying humans, no unfamiliar planets, and no optical illusions."

When he is thirty years old, Ariel Zinsky come to the conclusion that no one cares about his life story, so he decides to write it. He takes some paper from work and beings with his childhood. This is the premise of Zinsky the Obscure, Ilan Mochari's debut novel.

The quote about suspension of disbelief is a good indication of the tone of this novel. Zinsky is essentially the telling of the life of a young misanthropic man living in New York. It bares some resemblance to Confederacy of Dunces, but the story and writing lacks the absurdity that was so integral in making Toole's novel so enjoyable for me. Mochari's Arial Zinsky has all the angst of Ignatius J. Reilly but little of the bravado and ridiculousness that made him such a memorable character.

The unfolding of the story of Zinsky's adolescense is coupled with thirty-year-old Zinsky, from whose perspective the book is written, reconnecting with members of his family. Zinsky the Obscure is an angsty and emotionally raw novel, with nuggets of brilliant writing and storytelling buried in its pages. It's a strong debut novel for Ilan Mochari.


Brent Waggoner said...

Ilan Mochari is clearly Colin Mochrie's poorly-disguised pen name.

Ilan Mochari said...

Carlton, thank you for reviewing my book!

trish said...

Sounds like you enjoyed it overall. Thanks for being on the tour!