The Double Life of Alfred Buber is a memoir about an illicit love affair that one gradually begins to realize is rather different than the author confesses. Alfred Buber is a pillar of his community, a respected man with a secret, and a secret life, until one day the two cross over and even he can no longer tell which is real and which is not. Buber’s passion for women is matched only by his inability to relate to them, and after years of bruising attempts to find love he seeks his escape in an illegitimate and all encompassing romance with a Bangkok bargirl. She may reciprocate. She may not. Buber’s dilemma—to believe in her, and in what he is doing, or not, to bring her home to Boston, or not, to continue a wholly respectable life that is bringing him no happiness, or not—is the premise of this truly unforgettable love story, and its equally unforgettable, completely flawed, lovers.
David Schmahmann’s second novel has a kinship with Vladimir Nabokov’s fiction, given its elegance of language, humor, and content that deals with obsession, loneliness, folly, heartache, and the thin line separating reality from fantasy.
Kirkus reviews says:
“[A] florid, loquacious portrait of a man whose vices threaten to get the better of him. Our nominal hero, 40-year-old attorney Alfie Buber, introduces himself with flair. "These are the chronicles of the starship Buber, noted bibliophile, late night television addict, keeper of sordid little secrets so appalling he dares not breathe a word of them to a soul," he confesses. Buber relates the facts of his life as they are visible to the community in which he is thought to be a fine, upstanding citizen ... but mostly he submits to living his own lie. "The irony is rich. I am so much less than I project myself to be, bear no resemblance to the man I have insisted people see me as," he says.
Small Press Reviews says:
“David Schmahmann’s The Double Life of Alfred Buber reads like a lost Nabokov novel…the prose is meticulously wrought, the plot deeply complex and psychologically layered….Where some novels radiate outward, this one spirals in on itself, turn by fascinating turn, exploring the inner life of a man distanced from both himself and reality by his own lies and a soul full of secret, shameful desires.”
LISTEN TO AN INTERVIEW WITH SCHMAHMANN ON NPR's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED