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  • Published: 18 April 2017
  • ISBN: 9780099593690
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • RRP: $22.99

All That Man Is

Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2016

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 MAN BOOKER PRIZEMen as they really are... An ingenious book from the exceptional Granta Best Young British Novelist

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2016 MAN BOOKER PRIZEWINNER OF THE EDGE HILL READER'S CHOICE AWARDNine men. Each of them at a different stage of life, each of them away from home, and each of them striving - in the suburbs of Prague, beside a Belgian motorway, in a cheap Cypriot hotel - to understand just what it means to be alive, here and now.

Tracing an arc from the spring of youth to the winter of old age, All That Man Is brings these separate lives together to show us men as they are - ludicrous and inarticulate, shocking and despicable; vital, pitiable, hilarious, and full of heartfelt longing. And as the years chase them down, the stakes become bewilderingly high in this piercing portrayal of 21st-century manhood.

  • Published: 18 April 2017
  • ISBN: 9780099593690
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 448
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

David Szalay

David Szalay is the author of four previous works of fiction: Spring, The Innocent, London and the South-East, for which he was awarded the Betty Trask and Geoffrey Faber Memorial prizes, and All That Man Is, for which he was awarded the Gordon Burn prize and Plimpton Prize for Fiction, and shortlisted for the Man Booker prize. Born in Canada, he grew up in London, and now lives in Budapest.

Also by David Szalay

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Praise for All That Man Is

All That Man Is... looks increasingly like the masterpiece of British fiction from the past few years.

David Sexton, Evening Standard

David Szalay pushed at the fault lines between the novel and short story form in All That Man Is linked tales of European masculinity in crisis, whose effect is monumentally bleak, but which contain some of the best prose to be found in English this year.

Justine Jordan, Guardian Books of the Year

Szalay's writing is exact and true and always subtly intelligent; this book is bracing and thrilling and chilling.

Tessa Hadley

It’s a rare and wonderous event when a novel changes the way you look at the world around you; and this was the case with [All That Man Is]… A worthy winner of the Gordon Burn Prize this year. Gordon Burn would have loved it. Say no more.

William Boyd, New Statesman, Book of the Year

There is everything to relish about this intelligent, moving, thoroughly European search for the meaning of life ... It's hard to imagine reading a better book this year.

Melissa Katsoulis, Times

This feels like a great novel driven by its overarching theme: what is my life, here and now, all about? ... Rarely has it been so brilliantly and chillingly spelled out.

John Harding, Daily Mail

Trains a high-powered microscope on modern life… Szalay might have found in All that Man Is the perfect vehicle for his particular talent… It brings a sensory richness to the bleak and the drab… A showcase for Szalays virtuosic range… Each character is in crisis...yet Szalay grants each a lyrical moment of sensory immersion in the world. It is the resonance of these moments of fleeting transcendence that form the structure of this strange and lucid novel.

Duncan White, Daily Telegraph

All That Man Is is a triumph… By the fourth chapter the book as a whole has become gripping… Szalay has harnessed the natural energy of time, and the result is a 100-megawatt novel: intelligent, intricate, so very well made. The form perfectly fitting the content. When I reached the end, I turned straight back to the start to begin again.

Claire Lowdon, Sunday Times

[Szalay is] capable of conjuring tenderness from any situation… Szalay keeps the writing so judgment-free and is so honest about the unpredictability of desire… [Readers] will find a great deal to enjoy in these pages, and further evidence that Szalay…is one of the best fortysomething writers we have.

William Skidelsky, Observer

Szalay exposes the vulnerability that belies young men’s sexual bravado… Szalay takes us inside distinctive worlds.

Max Liu, Independent

Szalay’s writing is always sensitive, often funny and brilliantly observed… This is a very poignant piece of writing… All That Man Is does have the feel of a novel: in its evenness of tone, its thematic coherence, its driving sense of purpose… This is a quietly dazzling book by a writer who thoroughly deserves his growing reputation.

Toby Lichtig, Literary Review

He is one of those rare writers with skill in all the disciplines that first-rate fiction requires. The most immediate pleasure is his literary intelligence… Szalay’s writing is virtuosic… These are the best short stories I’ve read for ages.

Edward Docx, Guardian

Here is a newish, youngish…contemporary British novelist worth catching up on and following… Luxuriant and Hobbesian… Szalay is an offended satirist with a remarkable verbal imagination… Szalay’s prose with its ruthlessly banal dialogue, arm-twisting present tense, shard-like fragments…irresistibly brilliant epithet or startlingly quotable phrase, lets nothing go to waste.

Michael Hofmann, London Review of Books

He exposes with clear-sighted precision the multiple and (largely) disastrous failings of his characters… Szalay is too sharp by far to overstate the inevitable impact of his fellow man's actions… He exposes the problem in such style and with such rigour.

Gary Kaill, Skinny

He writes clean, unshowy sentences that move easily between the diction of casual speech and a more distanced tone. And he’s able to hold a reader even when there isn’t much going on, relying on assured storytelling rather than busy plotting. All this means that the new book goes down smoothly. It’s also a bit of a tour de force when it comes to social and geographical reach… It’s part of Szalay’s appeal that he’s more interested in getting at the texture of experience than he is in stuffing it into elegant packaging.

Christopher Tayler, Financial Times

He goes to town on nine specimens of the male gender, only surfacing to spit out the bones… The predicaments of the various tormented men come together to produce a rich exploration of male vulnerability… With All That Man Is, Szalay] he emerges as a writer with a voice unlike any other.

Jude Cook, Spectator

Szalay’s audacious new novel… A superb meditation on ageing.


The book is compelling, both for its fine-grained rendering of what one character calls “the texture of existence” and for its intricate patterning of events… His writing pulls you completely into their world. This is a book that I was impatient to return to and regretted finishing

Chris Power, New Statesman

A 100-megawatt book.

Sunday Times

[A] boldly sad-funny and clear-eyed new novel.

Andrew Motion, Guardian

Szalay’s handling of this material is sensitive, generous and often accomplished. He is adept at evoking the metaphysical stirrings that accompany shifts in light, time, weather… He is capable of sharp, fresh and affecting perceptions… [All That Man Is] offers enriching moments of immersion in the texture of existence.

Matthew Adams, Irish Times

A wonderfully pan-European collection of stories… All are bleakly funny and brilliantly drawn.

Markie Robson-Soctt, Tablet

An impressive investigation of masculinity and – with excellent timing – Europe.

Justine Jordan, Guardian

Szalay is on the cusp of widespread recognition and acclaim, but it could take the Booker to really tip him in. Szalay’s win would also be a symbolic victory for that generation of writers that seemed to usher in the new millennium by their will and words alone. To put it bluntly, this is the sort of coup that could change the guard of the British literary establishment.

Culture Trip

[A] wryly funny work.

Wall Street Journal (Europe)

A composite portrait of modern masculinity and the foibles of contemporary Europe.

Jon Day, Guardian

This book is well written, the language is clear and evocative of mood and movement, the observations offered are both simple and profound, the overall effect is a sophisticated commentary on life.

Methodist Recorder

If you haven’t read David Szalay before, these finely crafted, bite size narratives seem like a good place to start.

Lucy Chatburn, Bookmunch

[It is] scabrous, intelligent and hugely engaging.

Philip Hensher, Spectator, Book of the Year

[It is] scabrous, intelligent and hugely engaging.

Philip Hensher, Spectator, Book of the Year

Szalay got some of the critical recognition his formidable talent deserves for All That Man Is

Duncan White, Daily Telegraph, Book of the Year

[It is] glorious.

Philip Hensher, Guardian, Book of the Year

A revelation… Not only of a brilliantly inventive and observant writer…but of new possibilities for the novel as a form… I can’t stop thinking about it.

Alan Hollinghurst, Guardian, Book of the Year

Szalay brilliantly avoids approximation by precisely detailing the inner and outer worlds of his nine very different characters.. [It is] really worth your time – both first and second time through.

Claire Lowdon., Times Literary Supplement, Book of the Year

A stylish exploration of masculinity that deserved its place on the Booker shortlist.

Melissa Katsoulis, The Times, Book of the Year

I’m still struck by just how natural Szalay’s vernacular English voices sound in the mouths of his listless French teenagers, Hungarian bodyguards and cynical Danish journalists.

Lorien Kite, Financial Times, Book of the Year

Szalay’s astute and insightful book focuses on nine different men, each at a tricky stage of life… This is a deft, amusing and often disturbing vision of the plight of the modern European male.

Rebecca Rose, Financial Times

A collection of funny, moving, sometimes desperately sad stories

Alex Preston, Observer, Book of the Year

Deservedly shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize… A compelling masterpiece.

John Harding, Daily Mail, Book of the Year

Wonderfully compelling stuff.

Marcus Tanner, Tablet, Book of the Year

A witty deconstruction of modern masculinity.

Week, Book of the Year #3

All That Man Ishas a rather surprising tenderness. A grand project neatly realised.

Ben East, National, Book of the Year

Szalay paints a bleak yet fascinating picture of European man today.

Sir Howard Davies, Times Higher Education, Book of the Year

Beautiful, curious and compelling.

Mike McCormack, Irish Independent, Book of the Year

Shortlisted for last year’s Booker, these nine stories about very different men are replete with richly observed humanity, caught on the page as if in the midst of lives that extend backwards and forwards beyond the time we spend with them. Szalay’s writing is virtuosic, whether external realities or psychology… These are the best shirt stories I’ve read for ages.

Edward Docx, Guardian

It is beautifully written, with characters both repulsive and charming in equal measure


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