The Poser is original, entertaining, thought-provoking and many other complimentary adjectives (what a start, right?) Jacob Rubin--a first-time novelist--came up with a refreshing story and told it brilliantly. I was enraptured from the first page and my interest was piqued until the very end.
I guess this is going to be one of those glowing reviews, but not without merit:
Jacob Rubin nails it.
Giovanni Bernini is an impressionist (not a painter but a master mimic.) As an early child, his uncanny ability would get him into trouble. The only support he would get was from his mother who loved him and his remarkable talent dearly.
He stumbles upon Max, a talent agent, who takes him to the big city to maximize his potential (profit-wise, of course.) He introduces him to Bernard, who owns a club, and Giovanni begins his career as a professional impersonator.
He meets Lucy whom he has a relationship with and is particularly taken with her as she is the only person he has met to date whom he can't really impersonate--he can't "find her thread." Lucy had been involved with Bernard in the past and had a bit of a reputation--I'll say no more.
He eventually finds Lucy with Bernard (ahem,) thus ending their relationship. Little did Giovanni know that it was all part of Bernard's bigger plan. That plan in brief: turn Giovanni into a movie star and then parlay his fame into a career in politics. Basically, Bernard wanted to use him to take over the world. Nothing crazy, really.
Yes, there are hints of The Manchurian Candidate, but there is no brainwashing involved. Giovanni is a willing participant in every one of his endeavours, misguided though he may be. His issues are what drive this novel, no one else's. He is as sympathetic a character as you will find--I couldn't stop myself from pitying him.
The book is set in a make-believe place in a non-descript time--neither are of any significance. The only real matter of importance is Giovanni and his perpetual need to mask himself in others, never really showing anyone who he is.
The book is a comedy by definition but deals with a young man's inability to find his own identity: a topic I would describe as pretty serious. It's very relatable (in a magical sort of way.) Hasn't everyone been uncomfortable in their own skin at some point in their lives? Maybe it's just me...
Jacob Rubin has been compared to Jonathan Lethem--I can see it. I was reminded of the world and characters of Gun, With Occasional Music while reading this book (no talking baby gangsters, but still.) That is a good thing. Creativity is key for me and those brave enough to exhibit it in the writing world are alright in my books (no pun intended.)
Anyone looking for a unique read that will keep you turning pages should definitely give The Poser a shot. READ THIS BOOK. You won't be disappointed.
My goodness, I really liked this book.
Well done, Jacob Rubin.