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The Annunciations of Hank Meyerson, Mama’s Boy and Scholar

by Scott Muskin


When I received a copy of The Annunciations of Hank Meyerson, Mama’s Boy and Scholar by Scott Muskin, I was happy to review an author from Minnesota, my neighbor state. What I found within its pages is a novel of angst joined at the hip with humor, a feat that could only come from a Minnesota writer.

The story begins as Hank Meyerson works on The Project—a bathroom remodel that begins to look like a mirror of his troubled marriage—where Meyerson tears down, puts in new, and generally cobbles together. It also could be a metaphor for his life. An Emily Dickinson scholar, he has yet to find a teaching position and spends his wife's income trying to keep the bathroom and his marriage working. After yet another blow up with his wife (and the realization that he's in love with his sister-in-law), Meyerson flees to Montana where he goes to work at a newspaper, discovering quirky characters and a lot about himself. Ultimately, he returns and faces his personal and family demons, plunging him toward tragedy.

I found The Annunciations of Hank Meyerson, Mama’s Boy and Scholar to be less about being a Mama's Boy and more about being the forgotten sibling in a sort of 21st century Death of a Salesman scenario, but without the broadness of the patriarchal character. Muskin's portrayals are at once vivid but sometimes pulled in, creating subtle nuances, especially in his Montana characters. The plot is spread throughout five sections and though it is a linear plot, there are times when I had to read well into a section to find out why Hank Meyerson was where he was and doing what he was doing.

The Annunciations of Hank Meyerson, Mama’s Boy and Scholar is a fine literary novel of the contemporary struggle with relationships, both intimate and familial. Though Muskin spends ink on introspection and allusion, he is at his finest when he cuts directly to the story in more Hemingway-like sparseness because it is the story that sells this book, not the literary devices he uses.

The Book

Hooded Friar Press
March 1, 2009
0981760929 / 978-0981760926
Fiction, literary
More at
NOTE: This novel won the Parthenon Prize for Fiction in 2007 before it made its way into print.

The Reviewer

Janie Franz
Reviewed 2009
NOTE: Reviewer Janie Franz is the author of Freelance Writing: It’s a Business, Stupid!and co-author of The Ultimate Wedding Reception Book and The Ultimate Wedding Ceremony Book.
© 2009