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Albert, Himself
by Jeff W. Bens

Category: Fiction / General
192 pages; ISBN: 1883285224

Rating: 8/10  (Ratings explained)
Reviewer: Paul Lappen


Albert Fitzmorris is part of present-day working class New Orleans. He works at a fish market in the French Quarter, a position he inherited from his now deceased father. On one side Albert faces a tightly knit Irish Catholic community, and the strict expectations that go along with it. On the other side is Albert’s own preoccupation with unrequited love. Struggling with a self-image that is slowly falling apart, Albert puts his relationship with his community, his family and his daughter all at risk.

Albert is trying to live despite the shadow of the memory of his father. Fitting into his father’s clothes too easily, or playing poker with his father’s friends don’t make it any easier. Things are made worse by the feeling that his role is diminishing in the life of Eileen, the mother of his daughter (the two aren’t married), and in the life of Audrey, his daughter.
Pulling himself away more and more from friends and family, Albert finds himself in a doomed romantic fantasy. If only he could win the heart of the beautiful and unobtainable Chelsea (who works at a local hotel restaurant) his whole life would take a turn for the better. The biggest problem is that Chelsea makes it clear that she is only interested in a casual friendship.

This is a very quiet, and very good, psychological sort of novel about one person’s slide into emotional oblivion. The author does a very good job showing the good, the bad and the ugly of a real human life--the aspirations, the messiness and the disappointments. It is very much worth reading.



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