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Publisher's Summary

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016
An ingenious book from the exceptional Granta Best Young British Novelist

Nine men: each of them at a different stage of life, away from home, and striving - in the suburbs of Prague, in a cheap Cypriot hotel - to understand just what it means to be alive here and now.

Tracing an arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, All That Man Is brings these separate lives together to show us men as they are - ludicrous and inarticulate, shocking and despicable; vital, pitiable, hilarious, and full of heartfelt longing.

©2016 David Szalay (P)2016 W.F. Howes Ltd

Critic Reviews

"This feels like a great novel driven by its overarching theme: what is my life, here and now, all about? Rarely has it been so brilliantly and chillingly spelled out." (John Harding, Daily Mail)
"There is everything to relish about this intelligent, moving, thoroughly European search for the meaning of life.... It's hard to imagine listening a better audiobook this year." (Melissa Katsoulis, The Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • A Person
  • 03-29-17

Full of empathy

Wonderful writing full of empathy for the flawed and unglamorous protagonists and their friends, colleagues and acquaintances. Often very moving and occasionally very funny. Acutely observant of the human condition.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • joanjava
  • 11-08-16

Woeful men on the edge of a nervous breakdown

Makes you realise how few books you know where guys are relentlessly flawed and frail. Each story is like stepping into a nightmare in motion. With each main character imprisoned.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 06-22-18

Almost very good...

To call this book a novel is perhaps a bit of a stretch, many reviewers have called into question whether this is not rather a collection of short stories with a few recurring themes and loosely connecting threads and I would tend to agree with this.

What this book does well is describe, in often quite painfully poignant detail, the inner conversation of several men at different stages of their lives. There is little that is surprising in the short encounters we have with these men, but they are believable and though not always loveable, one cannot help empathising with the drama and struggles of their existence.

This book is bleak - perhaps overly - but as with all tragedy, it forces us to look deeper and question what it is that we hold dear and what is truly important.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Niall Marshall
  • 01-17-18

Absorbing stories about modern man

Really absorbing, separate stories about men at different stages in their lives. Each is about man's challenges to fit into his world or to deal with his declining role. Each is philosophical and deep and sometimes comical.
The narrators are excellent. Great voices.
A strange but reflective and philosophical set of small stories. Note it's not a novel.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • ANNABEL
  • 10-11-17

Boring, predictable

When I read the summary of his book, I thought it might be interesting. It was not.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Miss S T Chapman
  • 09-02-17

Dull

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

If you aren't looking for much plot or anything that moves at a pace, you may like this.

What was most disappointing about David Szalay’s story?

It was boring.

What three words best describe the narrators’s performance?

The narrator did an OK job, he just does' t have much to work with.

What character would you cut from All That Man Is?

It has left me cold. No character is a better description.

Any additional comments?

I am confused as to how it got such a high rating.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Joakim Hermansson
  • 08-26-17

writing for the end

much like the main character I mostly waited for the End but was kept by the long line of promising incidents.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Lauenna
  • 08-13-17

Good in a different way

I struggle with short stories and always feel disappointed when they end as I want depth! But somehow these stories about different men aren't really separate. It's more like looking at a series of paintings. It's very good. I find the change of narrators a little distracting.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Anders
  • 06-14-17

boring, predictable and boring

Gave up after 2/3. All stories is about people having problems dealing with sex but the stories are not adding any new understanding or even interesting development. After few paragraphs you know the short-story to the end and do not get any surprise at all.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • ddodson
  • 05-29-17

The most depressing book ever

I have given up on this book after 5 chapters which is very unlike me, I will usually keep going. However this has got to be the most boring book I have ever read. It is so depressing. I felt so fed up after listening to this. All it did was focus on all the negatives of the men. The stories were boring will sadness interjected into them. The endings were as though the author just got bored.
Also the narrator didn't help I felt as his voice was very flat and level.
Maybe I am missing the point as it's an award willing book but I just found it utterly depressing and cannot recommend to anyone I am afraid.

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  • Judy
  • 06-19-17

insightful

Any additional comments?

The book consists of a series of vignettes of different men through progressive life stages, from teenagers to a man stuggling with ageing. In this fashion, David Szalay has assembled a line-up of right proper bastards, every one of them! Motivated by little more than sex, money and power. The book deals with the meaning of life, but it's message is ultimately nihilistic. Still I found this book very enjoyable, for it's clever writing, rich insights and humour. I'm still thinking about it days later and suspect it's uncomfortably close to the truth.