Mike Zabusky first sees Katherine Staresina at a party given by Mike's doctoral-thesis adviser, Matthew Weingarden. They are instantly drawn to each other--so instantly that they have a sexual collision against a bathroom wall less than two hours after they meet.
Mike immediately feels surer of his love for Katherine than of anything else in his life--his moribund thesis about the Golem (an artificial creature in Jewish folklore); Weingarden, who appears to simultaneously support and undermine Mike's studies; and his lonely, angry stock-trading father, soon to commit suicide and thus further entangle the emotional knot, first tied in childhood, that Mike must try to untie.
While Katherine begins a mystifying game of intimacy and rejection, Mike learns more about her troubled past and seems to lose ground with every effort to win her heart. Finally he comes face-to-face with his own Golem-like existence. Who is controlling him? What can he do to escape--and determine--his own fate? What is the truth behind his father's death?
Consent paints a poignant, surprising, and ultimately profound portrait of a young man facing the universal challenge of balancing passion with wisdom.
Library Journal - Nancy Pearl
The major flaw in this second novel is that Schrank never succeeds in bringing [the] various plot strands together....for comprehensive public library fiction collections only.
A spicy, turbulent Manhattan love story, Schrank's second novel (after Miracle Man) incorporates sexual passion, familial strife, crucial secrets and several kinds of obsession.... Though the narrative is sometimes an odd hybrid of fiction and folklore, any hint of incongruity is tempered by skillful plotting and equal amounts of tension, romance and fascinating, well-researched Jewish mysticism.
Intelligently done a nice kaleidoscope of emotion, history, and regret.
Sam Lipsyte, author of The Subject Steve and Venus Drive Consent is a novel of sly, taut power, full of the hauntings of love and sex and family and folklore. Ben Schrank's prose never flinches, and he's not afraid to let his heart break.
Jonathan Ames, author of I Pass Like Night and The Extra Man Consent is a fierce examination of a young man's heart--how it loves, how it grieves, how it tries to figure everything out. And it's this last element--this desire to unravel, to understand--that makes this book almost like a mystery, an emotional whodunit, which is served well by Ben Schrank's clean, hard-boiled prose.
Leonard Michaels, author of A Girl with a Monkey
Ben Schrank's novel Consent makes you wonder how a man can write so well about a woman. The story, which deals with lovers and memory and money, also touches on the relation of myth and plain reality. It is a very serious story, and, in places, it is hilarious. As for the woman at the center, she is unforgettable.
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