Bobby Walser’s tragic childhood has left him a man frozen in time and mired in a world of his own making—one that has little in common with reality. Genteel and old-fashioned, his manners and habits are more suited to an aristocrat from a Chekhov play than to a young man on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Haunted by his failure to live up to the legacy of his great father, Walser’s sense of ineffectuality is compounded when he suffers a series of deflating professional setbacks. He’s baffled by the people around him, and his only solace is the hope of a romance—conducted via handwritten letters—with a mysterious woman who may not even exist. As his despair with twenty-first century life reaches a breaking point, Walser bristles at a newly constructed sculpture that represents everything he loathes about these times. Realizing that he has more to care about—and fight for—outside himself, he marches toward a final showdown with this towering symbol of oppressive technology.
By Adam Pelzman. Paperback. 201 pages. Published by Jackson Heights Press, 2019.