It Won't Always Be This Great

Peter Mehlman. Bancroft, $25 (382p) ISBN 978-1-61088-135-7
Given that Mehlman is a former writer for Seinfeld, it's no surprise to find his first novel powered by an irresistibly irreverent tone and relentless observational humor about the mundaneness of everyday life. The unnamed narrator, a lovable but neurotic 51-year-old podiatrist who's still in love with his wife after decades of marriage, experiences a brief moment of rage while walking home through his largely Jewish Long Island town during Shabbos. After stumbling over a bottle of horseradish and twisting his ankle, he hurls the bottle through the window of a clothing store. The unnoticed act of vandalism takes on new meaning when the store's owner, one of the town's more prominent Orthodox Jews, suspects that it's an act of anti-Semitism and wants the powers that be to prosecute it as a federal hate crime. The story becomes exponentially more complicated (and comical) after a bigoted artist is arrested for the crime and the FBI is brought in to investigate. Equal parts moral dilemma, subtle social commentary, and journey of self-discovery, Mehlman's tale of a man forced outside the comfort zone of his "respectable, decent, low-impact, relaxed-fit, gluten-free world" is both laugh-out-loud funny and deeply moving. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 09/08/2014
Release date: 09/01/2014
Ebook - 225 pages - 978-1-61088-137-1
Paperback - 348 pages - 978-1-61088-136-4
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