The AHS faculty talk about books.

"The Autograph Man" by Zadie Smith

Reviewed by: Yey Ibanez

Book Watch, Vol. 1, Issue 2

Readers who lead straitlaced lives may find the characters in The Autograph Man, Zadie Smith’s second novel, rather unappealing. The main character, Alex Li-Tandem, does not have a conventional job; he is an autograph dealer who is obsessed with a ‘50’s movie star, Kitty Alexander, whose autograph he may have forged while under the spell of a drug called “Superstar.” His friends since childhood are equally eccentric: Adam, a black Jew who has “discovered God through the combined powers of marijuana and Kabbalah” and Rubinfine, a rabbi who keeps on getting on Alex’s case despite Alex’s vulnerable position since he is pressured to perform Kaddish for his father who has died many years ago.

This novel is, in truth, not about getting high on marijuana or searching for the autograph of an actress way past her prime; it is, rather, about a young man slowly learning to come to terms with his beloved father’s death and learning that gestures – as represented by the Kaddish and, perhaps, by the signatures that he avidly collects – are all that he has (and, ultimately, all that we have) to convey and to make meaning in this world where real meaning is obscure and elusive.


benjieb said...

I'm currently reading Zadie Smith's "White Teeth," but this novel seems nice too. She's amazing, considering how young she is.

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