4 out of 4 stars
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Man Mission by Eytan Uliel is an exciting picaresque novel that describes the man mission voyages that four friends undertake for fifteen consecutive years. The narrative is interspersed with their personal and professional upheavals, specially the protagonist. He along with Sam, a friend, decide on one of their hang-outs that they would travel once every year as independently as possible to various challenging destinations. The novel charts how they and the other two friends, Alec and Daniel make this come true.
Saying I liked the book would be an understatement. I definitely give it a 4 out of 4 for varied reasons. Most significant is the theme that it deals with : the stereotype of 'being manly/a man'. The questions that arise about social expectations, personal satisfaction, the dynamics between what one wants to do, one can do and one should do are deliberated. It explores intimate and candid conversations between men (might be considered offensive in certain conservative cultures).
Secondly, I like the structure of the text - neatly divided into three parts, beginning, middle and end based on how the protagonist's life takes turns. The novel is a perfect blend of what takes place in the physical realm and the thoughts that occupy the psychological space. Each chapter begins with two interesting quotes - one from another text and the second from the Bible. Both provide food for thought not only about the text and its characters but for us. Then, there is a map that roughly yet clearly delineates the journey that the friends would plan for the following mission. The narrative starts with a sort of a prologue that sets the tone. It goes back and forth in time.
Thirdly, there are quite a few 'philosophical' sentences that I appreciate, for instance,'if you choose a different life, it will be strange at first but in time almost anything can become normal'. Such lines don't seem forced; they appear as a part of the protagonist's thoughts. In fact, I loved an excerpt so much so that I shared it on my Instagram account. Besides, in this professionally proofread text, the language used is replete with humor, visual imagery, similes and metaphors that I really enjoyed.
Finally, I believe this book is for all those who are adventure enthusiasts. The book takes you across continents informing you of invigorating journeys to embark on, be it Iceland, Fiji, New Zealand or Peru.
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