Men Falling Apart by Laura

You’ve lost your job, which you didn’t even like and weren’t very good at in the first place. You’re pretty sure your wife is having an affair, which she isn’t trying very hard to hide. You love your kid(s), but he/she/they are, frankly, sociopaths-in-training. You have asthma or allergies or a bad back, you’re overweight and out of shape, and if you’re not bald yet, you will be soon.

You are a man falling apart, and you’re well-represented in several American novels written in the last few years.

Start with Sam Lipsyte’s The Ask , in which a failed development officer at a second-rate university chases after one last “give” – while the rest of his life… well, falls apart.

Then work your way to The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter. This time, it’s a former journalist who sunk his entire life savings into an online venture combining poetry with financial advice. Ka-boom!

In Bill Scheft’s Everything Hurts , another journalist turned (ironic) self-help author chases after relief from his back and his miserable life.

Cap it off with Dear American Airlines by Jonathan Miles, in which a poet and translator writes in frustration to the airline, detailing the ruins of his existence, as he waits to board a (severely delayed) plane.

After this extended voyage into the Land of Men On the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, you’re guaranteed to laugh a lot… and appreciate the glorious, normal, stable life you have.

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