Publishers Weekly Review - Wiseman's Wager

Reviewed by: Publisher's Weekly

"You name it, I failed it. Failed, that's the operative word." So says Zan Wiseman, the Jewish octogenarian hero of this novel, but given that he's as unreliable a narrator as they come, take his assertion with a few salty grains. Having published one successful novel and suffering writer's block ever since —"not so much a writer's block as a Writer's Gibraltar, a Writer's Rocky Mountains, a Writer's North American Continent"—Zan is a man who instinctively rewrites his history. "There's no blueprint for a novel," Zan notes. "It's like walking across a strange country without a map." The same can be said for Zan's life. As his tells of growing up in Winnipeg, joining the Communist Party, falling in and out and in of love, author Margoshes intersperses Zan's spoken version with the history Zan knows is true, giving us a full-fledged character as tenacious and delightful as the novel itself. While the novel can occasionally become bogged down in repetition, it's leavened with the terrifically entertaining rhythm and style of Margoshes' dialogue. By the end, the book is exactly like Zan himself; alternately hilarious, charming, frustrating, and ultimately unforgettable. (Sept.)

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