At The Bottom Of Everything

December 5, 2013
BY Jessica Cohen

120613_mishmash_bookBy Ben Dolnick
Pantheon 2013, 256 pages

Seldom do works of fiction come along that allow the reader not only to enjoy the story, but also to actually experience the story. “At the Bottom of Everything” by Ben Dolnick does just this.

The backbone of the novel is simple and relatable. It is a tale of men approaching middle age who share a secret from their youth that keeps them connected, despite growing apart in every other discernible way. The story is told from the perspective of Adam Sanecki, a recent college graduate living in a big East Coast city, who is trying to make ends meet while seeking employment and learning about life and love. But while this backdrop seems realistic at best and unoriginal at worst, Dolnick is cleverly drawing the reader in and weaving him/her into the fabric of the story. Before even realizing what has happened, the reader begins to identify with the characters in a way that is seldom accomplished in other works.

Dolnick then continues on with a story that is so unsuspected and bizarre that it seems both wonderfully fictitious and eerily real. Using India for where the plot truly unfolds, the reader is taken on a spiritual and existential odyssey that he/she didn’t know he/she was approaching.

“At the Bottom of Everything” is a haunting, wonderfully crafted novel that will leave the reader thinking about life, spirituality and the bonds of friendship. Dolnick succeeds on truly transporting the reader on an exhausting, albeit beautiful, journey.

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