High-Rise: Observations and Secrets of a Doorman
by A.B.C. Delevante
Page Publishing

"The characters found in this high-rise… can be found in friends, relatives, coworkers, and neighbors. They are all of us."

The doorman in this account comprises the eyes and ears of a high-rise in an undisclosed location. In residents' habits, traits, faults, and virtues, all the variations of humanity cross his path. His grandmother's advice and the wisdom of sages play out in his interactions with residents, causing him to marvel at life. The author categorizes this microcosm of the world into groupings of vignettes featuring colorful characters. For example, there's a man who farts on command, an obese woman, a man who thinks he knows everything, an old woman who acts young, an old man who prefers the company of young women, people who live in their imaginations, people ground down by life, and many more. Nicknames and personal effects create humorous and recognizable characters. Some of these personalities blur, though, as they're deemed "the most" of whatever trait they possess, and superlatives, perhaps intentionally, rob the descriptions of particularity.

While additional editing would likely enhance the effectiveness of the narrative, the book still comes across as a unique series of reflections on the people the author encounters. Its simple outlook and wonderment at human idiosyncrasies suggest a sympathetic approach toward others. However, at times, some of the stories' graphic descriptions of sexuality and others' foibles tend to undermine this positive outlook. Many chapters end with a quote from Kahlil Gibran or with a question which ties the character sketch back to a theme of introspection. Can we see ourselves in others? In the end, do similarities trump differences? The book cites technology, fast-paced living, and money as the biggest contributors to people's estrangement from one another. Delevante's work should appeal to those who enjoy observing people—warts and all.

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