I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.
A threat that comes through the mail in 2014 shakes a man to his core, and through cultural and philosophical means goes on a metaphysical journey in author Tucker Lieberman’s nonfiction/fiction hybrid novel “Most Famous Short Film of All Time”.
Ghosts and goddesses beckon Lev Ockenshaw. Oh, bother. Fortunately, he’s got a pill for that. In 2014, Lev is happily telling campfire stories in Boston with his longtime friend, Stanley, and his coworker, Aparna. One day, he receives an anonymous, threatening email referring to the company where he and Aparna work. Lev reports the threat to his boss, but is not believed.
Invoking over 250 books, songs, and movies, Most Famous Short Film of All Time is a non/fiction-hybrid philosophical novel about:
- the nature of time
- the ever-present threat of gun violence in the United States
- the unhelpfulness of institutions and systems
- the importance of solidarity and transparency and being excellent to your friends
- belonging to Gen X or the Millennial generation
- being a fictional character and realizing you’re stuck in your own story
- the hazards of disclosing or not disclosing a gender transition you’ve already completed
- the neverendingness of the journey
- all 486 frames of the Zapruder film of the JFK assassination
- belief and unbelief
- prejudice, perception, and ethical action/inaction
- undoing/redoing decisions and trying harder
- reading as many books as you possibly can
- the role of playfulness, irony, and absurdity
- burning things that do not serve
This was one of the most profound, thought-provoking, and engaging metaphysical reads I’ve ever come across. To see this blend of both fiction and nonfiction elements craft a first-person perspective from the protagonist’s point of view was remarkable to see. The imagery and the dry yet witty humorous tone that weaves throughout the essays that this book is comprised of will stay with the reader long after they put the book down.
The rich dynamics that these characters set up are the perfect mirror to the philosophical themes and discussions that these essays and scenes bring about. The way book highlights both the fictional narrative by honing in on the protagonist’s realization of his own reality, the global reach of institutions and their worth, the way society treats and behaves when it comes to sexuality and gender identity, and even the nonfiction themes of belief, prejudices, and the ethics of taking action versus letting something happen through inaction all keep the reader engrossed in both the narrative and thought-provoking themes of this novel.
Towards the end of the book, there is a passage that speaks of the reversible being irreversible, in which through the story of Beowulf the author relays a message that really resonates with me. If you know how a path is going to end and how the process is going to go, don’t sink further and further into that path when the end result is guaranteed. Instead, focus on another path entirely and seek out new beginnings, for when we try to reverse a process we guarantee an irreversible result.
Enlightening, mesmerizing, and engaging, author Tucker Lieberman’s “Most Famous Short Film of All Time” is a must-read metaphysical LGBTQ+ literary work of art. The thoughtful nature of the story and the way the themes and character developments in the book challenges how we view society and the way its run as a whole made this book one that you may have to put down and come back to over and over again, for it truly challenges the reader in the best way possible while still creating a rich and powerful narrative to get hooked on. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy today!
About the Author
Tucker Lieberman is the author of the nonfiction Painting Dragons, Bad Fire, andTen Past Noon, as well as a bilingual poetry collection, Enkidu Is Dead and Not Dead / Enkidu está muerto y no lo está, recognized as a finalist in the 2020 Grayson Books Poetry Contest and nominated for the 2022 Elgin Award by the Science Fiction and Fantasy Poetry Association.
His essay on a horror film appears in It Came From the Closet (Feminist Press, 2022). He’s contributed to three anthologies recognized by Lambda Literary: Balancing on the Mechitza (North Atlantic Books, 2011 Lambda winner), Letters For My Brothers (Wilgefortis, 2012 Lambda finalist), and Trans-Galactic Bike Ride (Microcosm, 2021 Lambda finalist). His flash fiction was recognized in the 2019 STORGY Magazine Flash Fiction Competition.
His husband is the science fiction writer Arturo Serrano, author of To Climates Unknown (2021) and contributor to the Hugo-winning blog nerds of a feather, flock together. They live in Bogotá, Colombia.