The Biology of Luck
Quirky and unusual love story with an interesting stylistic twist. The main protagonist of Jacob Appel's The Biology of Luck, Larry Bloom, is your average Joe, the kind of guy women usually friend-zone. Larry's existence is seemingly unremarkable. An aspiring writer trapped in a life of a tour guide for New York City's tourists, Larry dreams of (primarily) two things: getting published and Starshine Hart (an ugly duckling turned swan with some serious commitment issues not just with men and relationships but also with jobs). The Biology of Luck takes us on a (beautifully described) city tour with Larry on the day of his big "date" with Starshine. All of Larry's romantic and writing dreams ride on that dinner date. The story he wrote is an imaginary account of Starshine's day leading up to their date.
I loved the "novel within a novel" format of the book. The adventures of these two oddball characters merge into a coherent narrative, the one in which the reader easily forgets that Starshine they are getting to know is Larry's fictionalized version of her. Larry's New York comes alive in Jacob Appel's descriptions, and it's so easy to imagine yourself taking that tour with him (especially if you've ever been to NYC).
What helped me lose myself even more in this story were the characters that kept showing up in "supporting roles" - Starshine's roommate Eucalyptus, Larry's mentor Ziggy (perpetually on a quest for the perfect American sentence), the menacing omnipotent one-armed super Bone. Yes, it's an army of oddballs, weirdos and maybe even slightly crazy characters. They come together to create a literary space that you become eager to take a tour of.
This book will be pure joy for those readers who have true appreciation of that rare combination of literary talent and memorable (though definitely odd) characters. The Biology of Luck is also a great book club choice - it lends itself beautifully to a number of interesting discussions.
I won a copy of this book through booklikes giveaway -