To Be Had ISBN: 9780473408855, ABSeeS (New Zealand) Publisher, an e-book by Sava Buncic.
The story follows the life and struggles of Boris, the product of a woman beaten down by a cruelly mentally abusive alcoholic husband who employs the same tactics with his son. Money always is a problem exacerbated as he retires with a small pension insufficient to support his drinking along with usual expenses. Boris does manage to obtain a law degree and gain employment as a part-time assistant to one of the two lawyers in his home town which is too small even to adequately support these. Thus, money also for him always is a problem complicated further by having married directly after leaving high school and his wife conceiving shortly after. He believed she should not obtain a job because it would ‘not send the proper message as wife of a practicing lawyer’. Concentrating on his mounting problems, he completely neglects his daughter, still refuses to allow his wife to work, and when his employer can no longer even afford him and terminates the position, he decides to move to a larger town for a position in a small firm. The wife and child are left behind until ‘he gains sufficient funds’ to establish a new home for them in the new city. Within a short time his life begins to totally unravel. The salary is barely sufficient to support the two residences, he becomes involved with a woman co-worker, almost completely ignores his wife and daughter, begins stock market trading, his father is incapacitated and mother requires money, his wife and daughter refuse even to talk with him, as a lawyer he becomes involved in land deals using trust money, his unlawful activity results in court appearances and loss of his ability to practice law. Desperate, he becomes a male prostitute where he does meet and become friends with Simona, the wife of a prominent politician. The establishment is raided and part of the fallout results in a financial windfall in a most unusual manner, but this only produces a lengthy mass of further complications as his unwise attempts expand. Ultimately, Simona again finds him and together they reestablish a relationship, he finds his now rather sadly partially mentally compromised daughter as a result of complications of her own and the story eventually proceeds to the small town in which it began.
Discussion: The story, through Boris’ actions, actually presents interesting illumination of several common fallacies in personal development; total self-interest, opportunistic behavior with at best fragmentary personal honor/ethics and little to no personal respect. Also interesting commentary on a number of social issues – the tendency for TV Reality shows to appeal as resulting from provision of excuses for similar tendencies within the audience; again, for the attraction presented by the subjects of such shows for some; for the only somewhat veiled persistence of ‘class distinction’ and its manifestations. Additionally positive is that Boris does exhibit persistent perseverance in the face of repetitive disasters. Other than these features, Boris’ performance is quite painful to follow. He never seemed able to acquired even the slightest ability to equate with people and only was marginally successful in general. His decisions often lack seemingly normal responses as does his attendant performance. With respect to mechanics of presentation, further judicious editing would greatly enhance the content.
Summary: This is the second book I have read by this author, and again must caution it has a distinct dystopian slant that will not appeal to the reader who is looking for enjoyment. However, individuals who like tales of the less enjoyable aspects of life, mostly self-created, with additional commentary on some of the not so subtle aspects of social intercourse will find To Be Had to their liking.
3* 4* For certain type of readers.