Max doesn't remember his mother, who was murdered by burglars before they emigrated from Beirut to New Jersey. He lives with his father, Rasheed, who is enamored of his concept of American culture - baseball and barbeques - and tries to shed his Lebanese heritage completely. "When we are in America," Reed (for he goes by Reed in America, not Rasheed) tells Max, "we are Americans."
Rasheed has a singular purpose in life: to provide Max with a joyful childhood. He showers his son with gifts out of a belief that he deserves all and is capable of anything. Max wants nothing more than to convince his father that he is a successful single parent. The only thing that can disrupt their peaceful universe is the truth - which it does, with force.
When Max turns 17, he learns from Rasheed's ex-girlfriend that his father has been lying to him. Max's understanding of the world is so rocked that he is subsequently launched on an uncertain mission to Beirut and then Paris.
Lifted by the Great Nothing is a startlingly graceful and often hilarious coming-of-age story about the lengths we go to in order to preserve the untruths by which we live. With its poignant relationships, unsettling misadventures, and surprising love stories, it is a touching and devastating portrait of a young man coming to terms with his country's - and his own - violent past.
Neil Shah was riveting, and the story was oddly enchanting. I flew through this production.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
This is the best novel I have read to date... I got tired of the inspirational books and needed some drama.. Well this book did just that!
I will like to satisfy my visuals though perhaps a movie?!
Good read, reminds me of a David Sedaris story in the beginning but becomes more serious, sad, pathetic and moving all at once.
Would you listen to Lifted by the Great Nothing again? Why?
Yes, I think I would. It's an engrossing story.
Who was your favorite character and why?
That's hard to say. I think Max's Father.
What about Neil Shah’s performance did you like?
Everything! He's great at doing accents. He was the PERFECT narrator for this story.
If you could take any character from Lifted by the Great Nothing out to dinner, who would it be and why?
The doctor. I'd like to ask her a few questions.
Any additional comments?
This story is written in a way, that reminds me of "The Goldfinch". The feel of it, the characters, something! Loved it!