The Unlounging offers a whimsical fictional memoir of a loser who gains an unexpected purpose in life.
Selraybob spends most of his time in his lounge chair, drinking beer and frustrating his wife, Joalene, with his sedentary ways. As Joalene finally walks out on him, Selraybob sees something that will change his life: The two living room clocks, Selraybob notices, are seven minutes apart. Thus begins an all-consuming obsession with the nature of time that finally gets Selraybob out of his lounger. He visits clock shops, reads Stephen Hawking and even takes a road trip to Boulder, Colorado, to visit the atomic clock.
This newfound energy extends to other parts of Selraybob’s life as well: he fixes up his Chevy Corvair, gets a job at the local library, mentors a young boy and schemes to win Joalene back.
The introduction of a shadowy sect of “time fixers,” determined to keep humanity from learning the true nature of time, adds an intriguing element and paves the way for a potential sequel.
Selraybob is loveable and easy-to-root-for, his folksy, first-person narration embued with insatiable curiosity, unexpected wisdom, and endearing self-awareness. (Revisiting the idea that Joalene may have just “settled” when she married him instead of her high school crush, he says: ”[W]hen the guy knows all along that he’s a substitute, he tries like mighty to prove he’s not. He mows the lawn twice a week because she likes it short. He eats broccoli and Brussels sprouts… But the guy never succeeds because his wife’s still got someone else in her head…May as well just take to his lounger and sit.”)
The novel is quirky and picaresque without being tiresome. The author’s command of tone and pacing lends the novel internal consistency and holds together its unpredictable plot.
Fans of Frank Turner Hollon, Michael Kun and other writers who mix whimsy and pathos will find much to love in the novel’s wise humor and satisfyingly bittersweet ending.
Also available as an ebook.