Men of Action by Howard Akler
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Men of Action not only gracefully succeeds in depicting the nature of human tragedy, but the inherent failures of language to capture it. The book’s brevity is its strength – a genuine testament to the writer’s talent that he is able to take us so far with so little.
-Globe and Mail

Synopsis

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 TORONTO BOOK AWARDS

The problem of consciousness may just be a semantic one. The brain absorbs a sea of sensory input, the tiniest fraction of which reaches the shore of our awareness. We pay attention to what is most novel, most necessary at the time. At its most reductive, the word 'consciousness' refers to the synchronized firing of neurons across multiple areas of the brain, the mental experience of attending.

But should consciousness be summed up simply by its subsconscious mechanism? I would prefer a more imaginative answer.

After his father, Saul, undergoes brain surgery and slips into a coma, Howard Akler begins to reflect on Saul's life, the complicated texture of consciousness and Akler's struggles with writing and his own unpredictable mind. With echoes of Paul Auster's The Invention of Solitude and Philip Roth's Patrimony, Men of Action treads the line between memoir and meditation, and is at once elegiac, spare, and profoundly intimate.

Howard Akler is the author of The City Man, which was nominated for the Amazon First Novel Award, the City of Toronto Book Award, and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

 

About Howard Akler

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Howard Akler is the author of The City Man, also published by Coach House Books, which was nominated for the Amazon First Novel Award, the City of Toronto Book Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. He lives in Toronto.
 
Published November 16, 2015 by Coach House Books. 129 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, Political & Social Sciences, Parenting & Relationships. Non-fiction
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Globe and Mail

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Reviewed by Stacey May Fowles on Nov 20 2015

Men of Action not only gracefully succeeds in depicting the nature of human tragedy, but the inherent failures of language to capture it. The book’s brevity is its strength – a genuine testament to the writer’s talent that he is able to take us so far with so little.

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