Michael Kitchen's debut novel, The Y in life, is as much a global saga as it is a Detroit story, because, though firmly rooted in the Detroit area, the novel travels all over the world and delves deep into material, existential and spiritual questions that face the humanity today.
Darryl Lawrence seems to have the ideal life. On the eve of the fifth anniversary of his college graduation, his life seems set on a straight course to live the American dream - a college degree, a good white collar job, a beautiful woman who wants him to marry her. As he pauses over the question of marriage, a chance but gruesome crime upends Darryl's whole perspective and makes him confront the question - "What is life about? What has my life been about?"
Darryl sets out on a global quest, visiting India, Indonesia and South Korea, in an effort to discover the answer and to discover himself.
The story is narrated in the voice of Mac, Darryl's cousin, roommate and best friend. As a progressive freelance journalist, Mac's voice provides a fascinating counterpoint not only to the lives and careers of his college mates, but also to the various national and international events. Time wise, the story straddles the change of the millennium, forming the perfect stage to enact the intermix of the personal aspirations with the political and social realities. Author Mike weaves this intermix very skillfully, without lecturing his audience.
The narrator Mac's rather unique career lends ample chance in the narrative to recount the various progressive movements in the US and the world, triggered by the blatant globalization. Mac dispassionately deconstructs the myth of a liberal Democratic party, especially that of the Clinton Presidency.
I have not read such a clear visioned reasoning of contemporary US political scenario in fiction in quite some time. The characters are lively and lifelike, with their passions and insecurities. Mike's prose is pleasant to read. As most of the story is in the form of dialog, it has a certain conversational style to it, making it a pleasure to read.
In conclusion, this is a must read for any one who has ever pondered the question - what is my life about? It is also a must read for those who did not ask this question - it tells them why they should ask such a question.
The book may be purchased directly from the publisher