March 22, 2013

Jim Gavin, Middle Men

In this outstanding collection of short stories, Jim Gavin brings to life an array of men (and a few supporting women as well) who are struggling to find their way through life. The central characters range from a high-school basketball player to a plumbing-products representative on the verge of retirement, though his main focus is on men in their late twenties and early thirties. In we are given a window in to the lives of each, their hopes and dreams, as well their struggles. The composite picture that emerges presents plenty of futility and listlessness, though it isn't completely without hope. These stories provide an insightful portrait of life that is coming to typify a generation, though it certainly isn't restricted to today's twenties and thirties. Gavin also wrestles with the question of role models and influences. I think the question of what it means to be a man in today's Western culture is an essential one. I too have lived the listlessness of a uncertain future and no clear plan, and these characters certainly ring true to that. But this is an even bigger issue for me as a father to three young boys. So savor these stories, and wrestle with these questions. We must.

Thanks to the publisher and the Amazon Vine program for the review copy.

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