July 18, 2015

All This Life

Joshua Mohr's fifth novel, All This Life, begins in traffic. On the Golden Gate Bridge. In a car.  A father and a son. Both broken and searching for something to break the tedium of their lives. The father, recently divorced, ponders,"How can he tell his only son that being an adult is learning to live with your failures?"

A miraculous event during the traffic jam of this opening scene becomes the catalyst for the rest of this beautifully crafted and perfectly paced novel. The characters are trademark Mohr. Each one flawed in his/her own way, but this time around, each character is more vulnerable and likable because they each reflect our own insecurities about living in the modern age. Although the characters vary in age, gender and class, they are united in their yearning for the things that make life more than an endurance test. They each remind us of what it means to live.

By parading a cast of broken characters,  Mohr shows us the many ways that, "Everyone swims in the earth's dirty broth." This time, however, he also tenderly reveals moments of grace and hope.

While tackling a wide range of theme and topics like parenting, Twitter, relapsing and addiction, growing old,  or the gentrification of his beloved Mission District, Mohr operates with a deliberate and thoughtful prose which dare I say sounds like poetry.This is the kind of novel you will want to read in one sitting, knowing that you might start it from the beginning as soon as you finish.   

All This Life is Mohr at his best and most hopeful. I wish I had more to say about this remarkable novel, but I would rather you unpack it yourself. This book deserves your time and attention, if for no other reason that to remind you that, "We will always be lost. We are the walking wounded and there's love in our hearts." 

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