Alan Zweibel

"The Other Shulman"

(Reviewed by Carisa J. Richner OCT 30, 2005)

The Other Shulman by Alan Zweibel

With his marriage sinking into oblivion, his kids grown and his stationary store business on the brink of bankruptcy, Shulman wonders about the decisions that have brought him to this point in his life. If he had made different choices, chosen the other fork in the road, would he now be a better Shulman? What would that Other Shulman’s life be like now? With uncharacteristic initiative, Shulman decides to run the New York City marathon.

Shulman get the first hint that this Other Shulman may actually exist when he is almost knocked down by a runner who looks remarkably familiar. Soon he becomes aware that a man named T.O. Shulman is opening up a mega stationary store, ordering meals in restaurants and sending them over to Shulman to tempt him from his healthy training diet, and dating his wife. Bordering on the surreal, their symbiotic relationship comes to a head in the last stretch of the marathon, when at last the gloves come off and Shulman fights his nemesis, which is, in fact, himself.

This novel is hilarious. As a former writer for Saturday Night Live, Zweibel has perfected his comic voice, giving Shulman an “everyman” aspect making it easy to sympathize with him and laugh at, or with, his predicaments. The narrative moves effortlessly between Shulman’s real-time marathon running (each chapter details a subsequent mile of the race) and the events in Shulman’s past. While the reader of The Other Shulman may be required to suspend a bit more disbelief than she or he normally would, it’s certainly worth it.

  • Amazon readers rating: from 25 reviews

Read a chapter excerpt from The Other Shulman at RandomHouse

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About the Author:

Alan ZweibelAlan Zweibel was born in 1950 in Brooklyn, New York. He is one of the original writers for Saturday Night Live. He also co-created and produced It's Garry Shandling's Show and collaborated with Billy Crystal on his Tony-winning show 700 Sundays. About Us | Subscribe | Review Team | History | ©1998-2014