Art & Culture Art/Culture/Literature

Book Review of ‘Lost Six’ by David Adjmi.

 
A breathless page-turner ‘Lost Six’ transports one to very specific places in time and location. Born to a family whose fortune had long been lost, Adjmi on his journey of self-revelation holds one in and pierces through the familiar pains of living which grab readers by an unfamiliar emotion.
Review by Bhoomika Mohan

On the margins of a provincialized universe, Adjmi shatters the aesthetics of his theatrical work to expose a dense, unique and not at all average memoir.

It is a fascinating story of a sensitive and imaginative boy who grows up in a chaotic and distracted household in Brooklyn. David being the youngest child in the family spends almost all his childhood in the Yesheva. It is only when he is a teenager that he is transferred to a secular school. His dysfunctional family propels him to remold himself several times to find his real self. He navigates queerness, mental illness and self doubt.

The book also mentions David’s father who always seem to lack clarity. He is manipulative and is never fully aware of what he is doing. He is a man of toxic masculinity. The way this book takes smooth turns from talking about families to communities and communities to religion, shows how important one’s surroundings are and how they contribute in shaping one’s personality.

The author gives vivid descriptions of the colorful characters from different worlds. He beautifully describes growing up in New York City and smoothly weaves the plot of musicals and theatres into his own personal narrative. He talks us through his struggles to make his place as a gay man in his homophobic Syrian Jewish community in Brooklyn.  

The book not only charts the oppressive years of his life but also relates to readers by giving an insight into Adjmi’s friendships that saved his life. From time to time, the readers can also expect to have a hilarious encounter with the book. The author also recalls misadventures and revelations in high school and beyond, which help engross readers.

The integrity and details in David Adjmi’s writing hit one’s conscience silently, especially of those who have grown up feeling unwanted and hating on themselves. He not only looks at his sexual orientation differently, but also to the world around him. He’s an exile in his community.

This is very much a book about artists as perennial outsiders. Adjmi’s delivery in Lot Six reflects upon the fact that the whole journey of finding oneself in a world that seems to shun one away always bring out the true beauty that stays hidden in everyone.

Part of the joy of this book is in its ambiguity. Adjmi’s constant struggle to look at the relation between artifice and reality is sometimes heartbreaking. The author makes repeated attempts to prop up a fake self and make it real, but he fails to achieve the balance. He uses art and pop culture as his tools for gauging reality.

The beauty and the truth of this extraordinary memoir are a testament to David’s empathy and imagination. It is truly a stunning memoir full of vivid characters, larger-than-life scenarios and is told in a raw, honest and insightful manner.

 

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