Joe is a New York copywriter. He's good at his job, fairly happy and his success has brought him material wealth. Until he starts daydreaming in meetings, floating away from the boardroom and watching himself from above. And then he starts dreaming at night as well. Dreaming of the Man. The Man who tells him to wait. To wait for him. "He had created a need I didn't know I had."
And Joe does just that. He sits on the stoop of his building day and night - waiting for further instructions. Others of course worry and wonder about him. Who is the Man? What has he said to Joe? And without trying or wanting, Joe becomes news. Small at first, then growing exponentially.
Basu easily conveys Joe's sense of dissatisfaction and disillusionment. When I started Waiting For The Man, I could only read a few chapters at a time. Basu provides much food for thought through Joe's ruminations on society, life, familial relationships, the media, religion and much more. It's impossible to read some passages without stopping and looking at them in relation to your own life and circumstances.
But as I continued to read, I became caught up in Joe's waiting. I felt like one of the public, hooked on Joe's story, just waiting for the latest reports form the media crew following his every move.
I was initially confused when the book's narrative abruptly switched time and place in the first few chapters. And then I realized that we learn Joe's story from the beginning and the end in alternating chapters until all is revealed. Or is it? Do we ever find the answers or do we create them ourselves?
Interestingly, I found myself more caught up in the ideas that Joe presented, rather than Joe himself. I ended up feeling quite middle of the road about Joe, neither here nor there. For me, he was simply a vehicle for Basu's exploration of the search for meaning in our lives.
Basu has crafted an unsettling, thought provoking first novel, one sure to leave you taking a second look at many aspects of our society and our own lives. Read an excerpt of Waiting for the Man.
See what other bloggers on the ECW blog tour thought at: Words of Mystery, Buried in Print, A New Day,
"Arjun Basu is a writer and editor. In 2008, he published Squishy, a collection of short stories that was shortlisted for the ReLit Prize. His stories have been published in many literary journals, including Matrix and Joyland. He also writes 140-character short stories he calls Twisters on Twitter (@ArjunBasu), which have won him a Shorty Award, lots of press, and a worldwide following. Arjun lives in Montreal with his wife, son, and dog. You can find Arjun Basu on Facebook as well."