Man Alive!: A Novel (Paperback)
All it takes is a quarter to change pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Owen Lerner's life. When the coin he's feeding into a parking meter is struck by lightning, Lerner survives—and now all he wants to do is barbecue. What will happen to his patients, who rely on him to make sense of their world? What will happen to his family?
The bolt of lightning that lifts Owen Lerner into the air sends his clan into free fall. Mary Kay Zuravleff's Man Alive! is a warmhearted portrait of family-on-family pain rendered with wisdom, generosity, and devastating humor: In the Lerners' household, you will recognize your own.
About the Author
Mary Kay Zuravleff is also the author of The Bowl Is Already Broken, which The New York Times praised as “a tart, affectionate satire of the museum world’s bickering and scheming,” and The Frequency of Souls, which the Chicago Tribune deemed “a beguiling and wildly inventive first novel.” Honors for her work include the American Academy’s Rosenthal Award and the James Jones First Novel Award, and she has been nominated for the Orange Prize. She lives in Washington, D.C., where she serves on the board of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation and is a cofounder of the D.C. Women Writers Group.
“Zuravleff mines the Lerner family's [unraveling] with impressive intelligence and sly humor.” —People
“A family novel for smart people...What makes this book so terrific? Certainly the lofty reach of its subject matter and its cleverly delivered information about mythology, robotics, etc. But mostly, it's Zuravleff's masterful use of language, particularly dialogue. Each character cries out to us, demanding attention, recognition. A whole family, not just the burned, bruised Dr. Lerner, demands to be seen as human beings -- alive!” —The Washington Post
“There's nothing like a lightning strike to make you reassess your life....Mary Kay Zuravleff dissects family life with great heart and rapier wit.” —Parade
“[The] compelling thing about Mary Kay Zuravleff's novel of family life is how an utterly normal household can be reduced to cinders by a chance occurrence....She provides handholds for each character, but their grips are never far from slipping.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“A lightning bolt to a parking meter certainly packs a punch, but so does every sentence and scene of this exuberant novel....Man Alive! is vividly alive and breathing. A sparkling book.” —Alice McDermott, National Book Award–winning author of Someone and Charming Billy
“Random happens, as Mary Kay Zuravleff ably demonstrates in this witty and engaging novel about a psychiatrist struck by lightning. Man Alive! chronicles the tensions and resentments that pull a family apart in the wake of a freak accident, and the lingering affections and connections that ultimately keep them together.” —Tom Perrotta, author of The Leftovers and Little Children
“The scenes and dialogue jump off the pages of this novel. Man Alive! is electric.” —Huffington Post
“[Zuravleff] captures both the humor and pain of family life and the fluid nature of its alliances.” —Library Journal
“A compelling story, beautifully written, about a family faced with a crisis, given a strikingly original spin by a gifted novelist.” —Shelf Awareness
“Man Alive! is all pleasure, even as the Lerner family suffers acutely. Mary Kay Zuravleff's novel delivers the particular pleasure of the thing perfectly described. This is a book to share, reading sentences aloud to marvel at--how'd she come up with that! How does she know so much! How can she be so funny, and then so poignant, one, two, punch. The Lerner family is a family to remember--and to raise a glass to every time you grill outdoors--cheers to the amazing and fabulous Owen Lerner, and to his creator.” —Jane Hamilton, author of A Map of the World
“I really like these people and I want to go to a barbecue at their house. This is a novel of equal parts wit and heart, edge and deep warmth, hands open with hope for humanity alongside a firm foot still in reality. A terrific treat.” —Aimee Bender, author of The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake and An Invisible Sign
“Man Alive! is a vibrant book, and complex, buzzing with the rhythm of life the way we live it. Mary Kay Zuravleff is masterful as she dissects the collective consciousness of a family, with all its tangled bonds and arbitrary isolation.” —Carolyn Parkhurst, author of The Dogs of Babel