By Kenneth Finkelstein
Friesen Press, $23.99, 296 pages
Searching for Shackleton is a witty book that will make readers laugh a lot while reading it. Who is Shackleton why is someone searching for him? Even though Shackleton’s former wife, girlfriend and secretary are searching for his loyalty, attention and love, the story is about Shackleton’s search for his own identity. Tired of being “shackled,” this man lets himself go and shakes up everything around him.
Sam Shackleton, almost 40, a successful lawyer and husband of seven years, suddenly leaves his devoted and still beloved wife and quits his highly paid job. Troubled by his subconscious, uneasy thoughts and dreams, he goes on a journey to find the meaning to his life. The story of his search is told through Shackleton’s conversations with friends, his shrink, a taxi driver, a street preacher, a Taro reader, a tree and a Tibetan singing bowl. Long inner monologues also reveal his journey.
“Where do these thoughts come from anyway? Should I even listen to my thoughts? Why?”
The narrative is whimsical and sophisticated. Shackleton contemplates many questions. Is there a reason for everything? Does life have a meaning? Is it suffering between birth and death or just a joke? How can life be measured? Are we in charge of ourselves? Are we responsible for others? Should we suppress our individuality to be successful and fit in? Every one of us from time to time has had the same thoughts. So it is really fun to follow the flow of familiar questions in the endless stream of Shackleton’s thoughts and contemplations. It is also entertaining to see how frequently Shackleton is distracted by any female.
Reviewed by Galina Roizman