“Every religion and ideology has claimed my action as their own. My actions were never, really, mine. I never owned them.” (p. 98)
Joe is just your average guy who like several people feels overworked and burned out. One night he has a dream of a man who tells him that he is waiting for him, and it is that one thing that causes him to leave his job and home in search of this mysterious man. What follows is more than just a story of one man’s journey; it becomes a sort of social commentary on things like the celebrity culture, social media and how the public combined with some creative advertising and marketing can turn something simple and ordinary into the next local sensation.
“Because I had a sense that despite Dan’s best efforts, this wasn’t huge. It wasn’t going viral. It was niche. I was just another bit of noise in the world. Some people listened but many didn’t.” (p. 137)
Though not indicated the chapters actually alternate between Joe on his journey as it quickly becomes a local media sensation and Joe in the present day, showing what his life is like afterwards. The voice of Joe is an especially captivating one throughout the novel and it truly spoke to me because a lot of what he says and thinks are relatable. However I found that there were numerous times where the writing felt drawn out, that plus the somewhat slow pacing made this novel feel much longer than its actual length. There also wasn’t much plot or action throughout the book so it was easy at times to get bored, still if you are patient you will discover that the story is a fascinating look at human nature and people in general. Joe, the narrator and protagonist could easily be anybody nowadays who is unhappy or unsatisfied or even those who have doubts about their lives.
” My thoughts were arrested always by one question: what did I hear? If not the Man, then what? How could I explain that? Did I really want to see the Man so badly that I had forsaken everything? Was my life so bad?” (p. 268)
Waiting for the Man is an unusual but extremely interesting literary novel. Nevertheless it is not a novel for everyone, if you don’t care for the social commentary in the book you may find it difficult to take and not as enjoyable. I for one, however found it to be an incredibly intelligently written book.
If you like this book, you’ll love: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce
Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.