Aviva Rosner is at a crossroads. Her fourth album is about to be released and her manager says it's going to be big. But Aviva is focused on getting pregnant, which she can't seem to do. How far will she go to have a child? Is that what she really wants? And what about her music, and her growing obsession with Amy Winehouse?
Albert’s third novel takes off with magnificent speed and never lets up ... Winehouse and Aviva mirror each other so deeply, there were times when I wasn’t sure which one I was reading about. In truth, it didn’t matter. Winehouse takes up so much real estate in Aviva’s mind, they are fully intertwined, though their stories end differently. Winehouse died at 27 while Aviva — through all her struggles, her inward and outward loathing — finds a peaceful, authentic way to go forward in the end ... I’ve loved Amy Winehouse since the first time I heard her, when I pulled my car over and turned up the radio. I now love the fictional Aviva Rosner to a point where I wish I could listen to her music, to feel her intensity and honesty. I suppose I’ll have to settle for rereading this explosively hip, funny and heartfelt book.
Fiery, and often funny ... A headlong rush of narrative ... Even at her most furious, Aviva is both profane and witty ... Albert makes little attempt at crafting Aviva into a 'likeable' protagonist, but she has created a relatable and, at times, irresistible character, whose own empathy offers us insight into the life of an artist who also happens to be unhappy.
If you’re still reading this, congratulations, you are one of those people not scared off by forthright discussions of menstruation. If so, you may find value in this book ... Albert immerses us deep in Aviva’s voice, in her thoughts, feelings, and perceptions ... I found the novel claustrophobic at times. Aviva is a difficult personality ... It’s possible to agree with her critiques of the assisted reproductive technology industry and still feel like she’s missing the point, that the character is caught in a rather adolescent trap of her own devising ... Albert’s achievement in Human Blues lies in creating a character so difficult and contradictory that the reader can both love and hate her at the same time, like a friend whose strengths are inseparable from her flaws ... The other great accomplishment of this novel is that it is very funny ... Aviva is a trenchant observer of her surroundings, her judgments both witty and sharp. Her musings often acquire a spiritual tinge ... It’s impossible to read Human Blues without realizing that this novel is already a product of a different time, a time before.