From Afar: A Novel by Frank Scozarri
From Afar by Frank Scozarri is a story about Morgan Stanley’s search for love, which leads him halfway across the world. He learns a lot from a host of different characters, from a playboy American, an old babushka, and a Russian couple he meets. The story is told well in an almost poetic prose, from Morgan’s perspective. Morgan is a man that so far has been unlucky in love, and he humorously recalls dates with women who use the websites “to make friends, right as the waiter brings a $35 bottle of wine to the table.” He’s so desperate, he’s convinces himself, even after being scammed out of $1500, his true love resides in Russia. He spends a ton of money, both on subscribing to the Russian bride site, the money scammed from him, and the trip he eventually takes and the costs incurred, just to see if a woman he corresponded with for a short time is truly his love.
This is where I had a hard time with Morgan. He ignores his friends council, he’s been scammed before by a man posing as a Russian bride, and he still drops a ton of money and gets on a plane to travel to another country. I’m not sure if he’s foolish or just a hopeless romantic. Either way, I was frustrated with his naivete, as he gets himself in more scrapes thanks to pretty faces and eternal optimism. That’s not to say Morgan doesn’t grow depressed, he does, but he never seems to learn. The day after he spends a ton of money on a girl buying her clothes and dinner, he never hears from her again and after pouting and bemoaning love, is out helping another girl the next night and getting into more trouble. Maybe he really is a nice guy and I just don’t get it.
I had hoped to see him learn from his mistakes, and his ideas of love are challenged by everyone he meets. His friends give him advice about love, and he sees different ideas from the desperate Russian girls that sign up for bride sites by the hundreds, an American playboy, and two Russian couples. It’s subtle, the way Scozarri weaves these ideas together and has the character challenge them, but it’s impact is unexpected thanks to the subtlety. That being said, I’m not a fan of the ending. It felt like a disappointing vacation that didn’t live up to advertisements (in this case, Martin’s expectations), which isn’t a bad thing, but I’m missing that bit of closure.
Besides not really liking Martin, and I should clarify that as not understanding his personality, I found a few dropped words and errors throughout the book. One more read through would have swept those up. But as for major errors, I didn’t find many. This isn’t my usual genre, but I enjoyed the writing, the attention to detail while in Russia, and the humor the author gave Martin.
My Rating: 3.5/5
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If this book interests you, you can purchase it on Amazon for $3.99, or it’s free on Kindle Unlimited.