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Aaron Zevy
Not Book Club Material
Aaron Zevy, author
"Your book," she said in her completely honest and unfiltered style, "is not book club material." So begins Aaron Zevy's new story collection, Not Book Club Material. Stories, memoirs and vignettes which are funny, often poignant, and sometimes thought provoking. And while Aaron Zevy's new book "Not Book Club Material" may not fit with the traditional book club offerings, you will be hard pressed to find a more amusing, self-deprecating narrator, eccentric cast of characters, or surreal, meta tales that blur the line between fact and fiction, for your book club. Even if you are the only member.
Wry, self-deprecating humor is the highlight of this delightful collection of drawn-from-life short fictions, the third from Canadian Zevy (The Bubbe Meise and Other Stories). With prose and a warm, incisive comic spirit reminiscent of the likes of Arthur Bradford or Ruskin Bond, Zevy’s vivid vignettes find inspiration in people the author meets during the course of his days, everyday activities like going for a walk or meeting friends for a meal, or discussing rejection slips at Starbucks. But behind these quotidian happenings and their hilarious descriptions, these stories also gently illuminate human foibles and follies.

“The Pitch” is not just about a day in the life of a marketing and PR person, but also a satire that inks organized religion to brilliantly thought out marketing campaigns. “Silver Tweezers” and “Jaffa Oranges” offer beautiful depictions of the father-son bond through shared activity, while “Ten Houses” and “My Imaginary Girlfriend” adeptly paint loss and loneliness. Among the several stories about friendship, especially male friendships, “Shwartzman’s” and “The Reminder” stand out for sheer hilarity and ‘Stocking the Pond’ for never once slipping into mawkishness. “The Rumor” and “Shprintza” effectively bring out horrors of the early twentieth century–life in a dictatorship and the Holocaust–by just alluding to them. “Theory of Relativity” and “Theo and Me” sketch the ups and downs of being a writer, the struggle to get traditionally published, and the joy and exhilaration of being accepted and appreciated, all in a lighter vein.

The language is casual and engaging, with the inviting feeling of being in the company of close friends, after a good meal, relishing a well-told anecdote. This highly enjoyable collection will not only capture readers’ hearts with its humor, it will also leave them feeling more charitable and magnanimous towards this world, which Zevy makes seem a touch brighter.

Takeaway: These comic vignettes, drawn from life, create the feeling of being regaled with a friend’s best anecdotes.

Great for fans of: P. G. Wodehouse, David Sedaris.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A