Only the Lonely - Gary Zebrun I found Only the Lonely by accident at the library. Its title and the blurb on the back that mentions three people bound together by their love for movies caught my eye. There is Asim, a 19-year-old gay man, who wants to leave Lackawanna, NY to attend college. His father, Badru’s, death and final wishes prevent him from doing so. There is Sonia, Badru’s longtime mistress, now sick with Parkinson’s disease and a failing memory. There is Asim’s brother, Tarik, who is a Moslem extremist and alienated from his family’s “heathen” ways. And then there is Billy, who drinks at the pub across the street from the theater and falls for Asim. The story is told in flashbacks and jumps back and forth between characters. Sonia and Asim are especially well-drawn, both of them lonely and seeking escape in movies. This grim family situation is set against the backdrop of a bleak industrial town with its decaying movie theater, dingy pubs, neglected buildings, and old memories. I knew Only the Lonely was going to be a sad story. I just didn’t know it was going to be so unremittingly depressing. 3 1/2 stars.