Expansive, witty, and hugely satisfying…
A young man sets on a self-exploratory journey after his long overdue split from his wife in Wyss’s hilarious, satirical tale. It is 1971. Jeffrey Hesse, a recent graduate from Northeastern University, moves with his young wife Jane to a one-bedroom small wood-farm house a few miles south of Oneonta, New York. But an unexpected incident sets the farmhouse on fire, and with it, the couple’s relationship comes undone, setting them on separate paths. Trying to find his place in the post sixties America, Jeffrey sets out on an exhilarating journey that takes him through America, Canada, and Europe. Hesse’s approach to his young protagonist’s feelings of alienation and hope as he tries to find his place in a chaotic world is ripe on nuance. Though the story meanders, Hesse’s remarkable gifts for characters, situations, and humor make sure the reader stay invested throughout. Jeffrey, despite his obvious flaws is a likable character: he is lost but a man of good intentions. Hesse’s crisp, assured prose offers the reader a window into Jeffrey’s inner life as he struggles to find a balance between his small-town values and the seismic cultural changes of the time. Hesse makes his story an emotionally fraught and enriching one for the reader. The secondary characters are rooted in reality, especially Michelle, who is grasping for straws while trying to deal with her demons. Occasionally sad and full of absurd moments and amusing quirks, this biting satire of post-sixties America makes for a richly rewarding read. Hesse has delivered a winner.
When Life Was like a Cucumber
By Greg Wyss
Pub date February 20, 2019
Price $22.40 (USD) Paperback, $7.51 Kindle edition