Disguised as a mix between a memoir, a tale of one family, and a tale of a love or two, along with a series of pleasing little stories and an occasional poem, The Querulous Commitment presumptuously asks, and then answers, the most pressing question of all of mankind. Between the lines of easy and quickly read stories, it asks the question explored by philosophers since Moses, Plato, and the great scholars of the early Christian and Talmudic era. What is the meaning of life? The answer contains a bonus, for its conclusion explains the meaning of love.
Thematically, the book expands on the thoughts of Sherwood Anderson in Winesburg, Ohio, Kurt Vonnegut in Cats Cradle, Ehrich Fromm in Art of Loving, and Tom Robbins in Still Life with Woodpecker, but the reader doesnt need to be a librarian to understand it. The Querulous Commitment provides a comprehensive and usable existentially based worldview designed to counter a mass media induced misunderstanding of life, love, and romance. It does that with more directness than a novel and more readability than an essay in a flow of simple, self-effacing, and sometimes cute, real life stories written from the first-person perspective.
The stories were carefully chosen over twenty-five years, the wording of the book is a product of over four years of development. The value of the book is that it interacts on multiple levels. It says what its going to say in an early chapter, after centering itself. It then explains why that version sounds wrong, and proceeds to live its philosophy instead of explaining it. And it does all of this without looking like its doing any of it and without discussing philosophy until the very end. It looks like a cute story in which the author is the protagonist.
The pundits like to say that everyone has one great novel inside them. This is Mr. Sternbergs novel.