4 out of 4 stars
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Man Mission by Eytan Uliel is a book about a man who tries to escape his routine life for several days a year. The routine entered his life through his first job after college–a time when people start to make big choices. Most of us are afraid to change our lives–we are scared of the consequences if the choice we make is wrong. So, if you do not want to end up like Madame Bovary, you need to find a diversion. Together with his friend in a similar situation they went for a trip away from their familiar surroundings. A tradition was born, and every year these guys as well as two others would undertake different adventures away from their jobs, wives, and kids.
But you cannot escape yourself (at least forever). Life will make a choice for you, like it or not. Throughout the fifteen years the “man mission” was transforming from an “escape” to “soul therapy”. For these men it became something stable and supportive in this unpredictable, turbulent world.
I would give 4 out of 4 stars to this book. The novel is very well-written and professionally edited. It feels absolutely genuine. The events of more than fifteen years are being told by the main character of the book. This is a man who traversed from the age of questions to the mature age of answers.
At first, the four friends in the story reminded me of the characters from Jerome Klapka Jerome’s comic travelogue, but further on, the plot of the book took a turn to a personal drama. There is a lot of travelling in the novel, but this is not the focus of the book. This is a book about what is going on inside of us, not outside. Descriptions of different places are rather complimentary, and they give us another insight–people from different countries are basically the same.
The book took me in gradually. I was laughing a lot at the beginning of the novel, and I was crying together with the narrator later on. Even though I do not remember the storyteller’s name, I associate him with the author of the novel.
The Man Mission is written for everyone of adult age. Even though the novel is written from a man’s perspective, men and women alike would understand and empathize with the characters of the book. There is no gender barrier for any human feeling. It would be interesting to compare men’s and women’s points of view on the same events though, but it could be a challenge for any writer to achieve authenticity of more than one of these perspectives.
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