Trials and Travails of Small Minds follows the sideways trajectory of an unambitious career temp worker occupying the most nowhere of nowhere jobs. Nathan spends many a hungover morning and afternoon fetching coffee for his senile slumlord boss in a dust-choked office on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Between gossiping with his lone co-worker in their dangerously untidyTrials and Travails of Small Minds follows the sideways trajectory of an unambitious career temp worker occupying the most nowhere of nowhere jobs. Nathan spends many a hungover morning and afternoon fetching coffee for his senile slumlord boss in a dust-choked office on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Between gossiping with his lone co-worker in their dangerously untidy office, hanging with a drug-addled neighbor, and dealing with a jealousy-ridden girlfriend, Nathan stumbles headfirst into a clumsy property scam which finds him unknowingly at the center. With a cast of characters including a dead beatnik legend, an eccentric and pompous collector of the beatnik's works, a new love interest in the form of a tenant with unclear intentions, and a network of sociopathic former literature professors, a saga unfolds over eight days in August which sends Nathan careening through lower Manhattan, Brooklyn, the suburbs of England, and Beyond in a swirl of comedic intrigue....
|Title||:||travels and travails of small minds|
|Format Type||:||Kindle Edition|
|Number of Pages||:||501 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
travels and travails of small minds Reviews
Daniel Falatko's sophmore novel is no slump. In Travels and Travails of Small Minds, we are introduced to Nathan, bored Brooklynite and third hand assistant to an eccentric property owner. Stuck in a dead end relationship and an even more dead-end position, Daniel doesn't hesitate to accept an offer to travel to London to assist his employer with the sale of one of his currently-occupied apartments. Curiosity gets the best of Nathan as he, his lone coworker, and the super hot tenant begin to research the property. The deeper he digs, the less the sale makes sense, and the more dangerous his situation becomes. I'll be working with the author to promote this title in the month of May. If you'd be interested in a review copy, please private message me here. We have all digital formats available!
★★★ 1/2 (rounded up)This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.--- “I feel like I’m stuck in a mystery novel written by an unhinged individual, Amy.”There's a lot of truth to that lament Nathan makes to his girlfriend, Amy. In the same conversation, she had a different take on it:“Mystery Englishmen? Ever-evolving eccentric casts of characters? Intricate layers of plot involving absolutely nothing? Two unaware and wayward employees leading the story? Nathan, you are living in a Wes Anderson film. And I’m not sure if I like it. You’re definitely more Life Aquatic than Rushmore at this point.”There's a lot truth to that, too. At the same time, neither of them is quite right (and please, don't go looking for a Wes Anderson/unhinged mystery writer kind of book, you won't get it. But you may get something that appeals to someone who'd like that kind of book). Just these commentaries on Nathan's life during this novel shows you just how strange this is.I don't want to say there isn't a plot -- there is one; nor do I want to say that it's not important, or nonsensical -- there is a good amount of sense and it is a pretty good story; but compared to the experience of spending time with Nathan, his friends and colleagues, as well as those he meets over the course of the novel outweighs the story. You've got Nathan; his girlfriend, Amy; his boss Dr. Behr, an elderly gentleman who just might be the living incarnation of "eccentric"; his coworker, Edward, who has spent far too many years working for Dr. Behr; and Nathan's neighbor, who seems to do little other than use recreational pharmaceuticals. Throw in the study of a beatnik novelist of dubious quality, the attempted illegal eviction of a young woman, and some strange British citizens, and then step back and watch the lunacy begin. There's a real estate deal at the core of this -- which allows Falatko to indulge his fixation on NYC rental properties (and seals my conviction that I'll never move there) -- the sheer number of things that are wrong with the deal and that can go wrong with it. And here we are, proof that I can't talk about this book in a way that makes a whole lot of sense.This is a funny book, but not a comedy. It's absurd in the best sense. It's a wild ride, with a very human -- and relatable center. Relatable might not be the best word, because I can't imagine that any reader will have an experience like it. But even at the strangest moments, you'll find yourself nodding with Nathan's actions and reactions, saying to yourself, "yeah, I can see why he'd do that." Even the conclusion that the plot careens to -- for most of the book you'd say that wouldn't work at all, but by the time it happens, it seems pretty perfect.The illustrations are a nice touch -- I don't know that I needed them, and I don't know that they really added all that much. At the same time, I enjoyed them. At what point was it decided that only kids could use a picture every now and then in their books?I wasn't a fan of Falatko's previous novel, Condominium, but I thought it did display an element of talent. Travels and Travails put a lot more on display, and kept me entertained and engaged (and frequently smiling) throughout the novel. Although, I should note that I also spent a good deal of time wondering what I'd just read and why -- but I was having such a good time that I really didn't care about the answers to those questions. You won't read many books like this one, but you'll wish you could.Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinion and participation in this book tour. I just wish I had something more coherent to say about it.
Full ReviewTravels and Travails of Small Minds is hilarious,entertaining, and weaves a compelling mystery. I expected good things from Daniel Falatko after Condominium and he didn't disappoint with this book. This is well-worth picking up.
Full review here: http://www.shelfstalker.net/blog/the-...Falatko’s newest book, The Travels and Travails of Small Minds, has his characters treading familiar ground—the streets of New York City—along with new territory—England, Moscow, and others.Nathan is dragging along at a dead-end for a senile old crockpot loosely in charge of slumlike properties. His girlfriend lives too far away, his neighbor is a drug addict, and his sole coworker is no better off than he is.Taking life one day at a time with no real future in sight, Nathan gets mixed up in a property scam that entangles him in the works of a dead beatnik of extremely dubious talent, that beatnik’s number one fan, and a large amount of money.The book’s strengths are revealed in the writing of the city—it is a very comfortable place for the author. The descriptions would be familiar and smell like the sweet garbage funk of home to any New Yorker. It is a mix of the grungy underbelly and the unique moments that make it a city like no other: a guy selling tiny turtles on a street corner, drugged out kids dancing on the subway, brawls in the street. It’s the real New York, the one you see if you live there, pounding the streets every day.There is a dark sort of comedy here, not really like a funny comedy, but more like theater of the absurd. You laugh because you don’t know how else to react, because that is the only feasible emotion for the craziness that is occurring.Similar to Condominium, this book lives and breathes New York. The eccentricities and insider knowledge swells to the surface and is painted on every page. The characters themselves take a bit of a backseat to New York herself, which becomes obvious when the plot is driven away from the city to other countries.As far as the character’s go, this one is a jumble of personalities and is very much a different style from the satirical look at the gentrification of New York’s boroughs that Condominium encapsulated. The characters in Condo had reached the top, they had nowhere to go but down.Nathan and his pals, on the other hand, are not even trying to climb the ladder. An intriguing mystery, a pretty girl, even a potential opportunity at work fall into his lap and he can barely be bothered to look into any of it. He’s just coasting.While the plot does manage to move forward in a haphazard way, that almost complete apathy does get in the way, especially in Nathan’s case. At what point will he decide to take action and be a deciding factor in his future?I didn’t see him as a dynamic character, even as he makes stunning revelations, even with the One Year Later sections. He is just the same throughout the book. Riding the waves, taking what life gives him, and not really trying to change his situation. I would have liked more action on his end.But perhaps his apathy is the point. Are we the choices we make, the job we have, the clothes we wear, the city we live in? Tyler Durden would say no.So what is left?In the end, this one is a wild mind-trip. Falatko has an interesting take on the world and it’s worth exploring.
Very entertaining, with a cast of unique characters full of a wide range of quirks and flaws and obsessions and mysteries and surprises, including eccentric elderly ex-professors, a giant Russian landlord/store owner who alternates between intimidating and endearing, a man who dedicated his life and wealth hoarding the memorabilia of a late drug-addicted author, to the main character Nathan, unmotivated and unambitious and reasonably content to stay that way. The book starts with "ONE YEAR LATER" and chapters jump around between the aftermath and the year prior. I found it a bit slow to start from this point since we don't really know Nathan yet and can't fully appreciate his situation, but I kept going and ended up really enjoying the story.
Could’ve used some consistency edits, but that was a fun trip.