Zachary Lazar is a university professor of English, and a renowned author of three previous novels. Reading his fourth novel, I Pity the Poor Immigrant, was a frustrating experience, because I knew I should be enjoying it more than I was, and that it really should be a better novel than it seemed to be.
I Pity the Poor Immigrant is a multi-layered story that crosses times and oceans. When an American journalist travels to Israel to cover of the murder of a writer, she discovers more about her own family's history entwined in the writer's story. The way Lazar brings her story together with her father's and reveals the connection while creating this very believable history is artful. In fact, maybe too artful. This reads more like non-fiction than fiction. I felt compelled from time to time to Google the places, events, and characters to discern what was real (much of it was) and what merely could be real.
Alas, whether because of my short attention span, Lazar's indirect story-telling style, or just a matter of taste, I couldn't really get into the characters of the plot of I Pity the Poor Immigrant. Pity me, if you would, for missing out on a true appreciation of this potentially great novel. Or pity you for having to find out for yourself whether you like it or not.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!