The Biology of Luck by Jacob M. Appel – Release Date October 7, 2013

The Biology of LuckThe Biology of Luck by Jacob M. Appel

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

As usual I received this book free of charge; specifically, through the grace of a LibraryThing monthly giveaway. Despite that kind and frequent consideration, I give my candid opinions below.

“Biology” is an enigmatic little tale of an ugly and unfortunate man. The chapters alternate between the narrative of his real life and chapters from the book he’s written, named somewhat concentrically, “The Biology of Luck.” His real life is a rather frustrated tale of a man looking for love while book he’s written is a highly optimized and optimistic view on the same events.

On the positive side, this book is highly surreal and captures the dichotomy between our real lives and what we would wish them to be. Our main character builds up his book-within-a-book around the life of his prospective lover and an unlikely series of events that it is hoped will bring her ultimately to his arms for good and all. Other reviewers have called this book “funny” but personally I didn’t find it funny at all but rather dark and far too easy to relate to. The protagonist is a sad little man who makes one big wish and releases it into the world in book form.

To the negative, I would only warn readers that this is not a typical happy go lucky romance novel. This is very deep, patient and thought provoking work and those looking for fluffy romance or a grand payoff at the end will be disappointed. Read this book when you want to spend a day in contemplation, not for an afternoon by the side of the pool. For some this will be a warning and others a recommendation. I leave it to you to decide which category you fall into.

In summary, this novel is a highly literary and complex tale of love, lust and human desire. It also has a lot to tell us about how we perceive others and exhibits the great talent of the human mind for taking tiny shreds of information about people and weaving them into exorbitant narratives that generally have no relationship whatsoever to reality. Just the sort of book you could read three times and get more and more and more from it on each reading.

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