My novel, Mad Nomad, was published on September 27, 2015   


Mad Nomad is a comic-romance adventure novel set in Tunisia, a small, vibrant country in North Africa between the Mediterranean and the Sahara. 


Mad Nomad is one novel, yet is structured as five shorter books or sections that each functions well on its own. The best comparison I can make is The Alexandria Quartet, by Lawrence Durrell, which treats the lives of several characters in the setting of Alexandria, the Egyptian port city. However, the four books of Durrell's masterpiece were separate volumes, each with a different narrator, and each with a different principal character, whereas Mad Nomad is told by one narrator, and is contained in one cover.  


And though Mad Nomad can be viewed as five linking parts, it should be read sequentially, from start to finish, since it portrays a year in a Peace Corps volunteer's life and develops his character and relationships over that time.


For those readers who prefer their novels to come in series, but do not like one book to be voluminous, Mad Nomad may offer a rewarding reading experience, since it can be read as a series, and can be enjoyed in more than one sitting. 


If you want to laugh about human relationships, learn about the Peace Corps, as well as  a fascinating, historically significant country, about which little is known, Mad Nomad is a book you may want to check out.

This is what reviewers wrote about MAD NOMAD.



Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 starsDestined to Become a Classic, American Bildungsroman of the 20th Century

By Wordsworth on November 15, 2015

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

At age 21 Rick Murky joins the Peace Corps and is assigned to the waste land of Tunisia to teach English and enable local cultures to "advance." It turns out in this masterful Bildungsroman that there is far too little peace in the Peace Corps where Life is a series of battles to survive in a hostile, foreign nation like Tunisia. The well-named Murky is a stranger in a strange land seeking to be closer to the love of his life, Cerise, who lives in France. Cerise is everything that he seeks in a woman: beautiful, sensual, intelligent, articulate and witty. That is, she is everything except actually compatible over longer durations and when she visits, Cerise is appalled by the dire poverty into which Murky has become immersed. The novel becomes epistolary in the exchange of letters between Murky in Tunisia and Cerise in France. Like many of us Murky is seeking a meaningful existence which eludes him in a place which he had hoped would become an exotic setting for adventures and living Life to the fullest. He does find adventure and in one stunning chapter joins a crusade to free from captivity a kidnapped sex worker whom he first met at the Peace Corps. Cerise tells him "I don't believe in your war with the company, the Peace Corps and the system: they are battles with yourself." It is a lonely existence for a man of his considerable intelligence carrying upon his broad shoulders the immense weight of American culture with its long history of hostile politics and international belligerence so despised by Tunisians. One of his friends advises Murky that he is "living like a cabbage" in the Tunisian waste land.Read more ›

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 starsLike the Bedouins of old…

By John P. Jones III TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 21, 2015

Format: Paperback

This is the third book of Eric Jay Sonnenschein that I have read. The other two are All Over The Place: Essays from A to Z andAd Nomad: The Case Histories of Dane Bacchus. I found much substance, presented with a self-deprecating wit, and an easy writing style, in the other two works, and so when I was offered this work for review, with one extra letter in the title as compared to a previous work, I had to say Yes, and once again, was not disappointed. At one time, our ancestors, all, were nomads, moving together in small groups, from place to place, chasing the greener grass or the wildlife. Now, with the rapid urbanization of the planet, the Bedouins of old are almost extinct. But a firm sense of place and community has not replaced the wanderings of prior generations. In fact, the wanderings, along a different axis, may have intensified, with the demise of the 30-year and gold watch corporate workplace, replaced, as the “kids” now say, with the “gig” economy… temporary assignments here and there. The Bedouins did have each other; with today’s “nomads,” there is that sense of anomie. I felt Sonnenschein brought that out well in his selection of a book cover for this work, and it was an implicit theme of the novel.

My intention upon graduating from college was to join the Peace Corps, and thus there was an additional appeal to this book.Read more ›

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 starsNot since Nathaniel West dismantled Lemuel Pitkin in A Cool Million has an author heaped as much abuse and ...

By Gabriner on November 3, 2015

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase

There was a time when the picaresque novel was frowned on by high brow readers. The advanced plots and literary devices that developed in the 19th century novel, elements that were lacking in the episodic tales of 16th century Spain, came to be seen as high achievements in the literary firmament. Post Modernism brought further word games and experiments, and "refinements," and these marginalized the picaresque form even more.

Enter Rick Murkey, recent graduate from Brockwurst College, and wide eyed Peace Corp volunteer going to Tunisia. Not since Nathaniel West dismantled Lemuel Pitkin in A Cool Million has an author heaped as much abuse and humiliation on a naive hero. Poor Murkey is afflicted not only with representing "Amerika" and all its interventionist baggage in the 1970's, but as a human being, he is hopelessly anguished. His best intentions are reduced to dust, with the notable exception of his role as a disruptor of the sex trade industry in Tunisia.

This book is a comedic romp through mountainous dunes of human doubt. Prepare to laugh.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful

5.0 out of 5 starsQuirky, sexy, oddball, and engaging

By Geoff Wisner on October 31, 2015

Format: Paperback

I've read my share of Peace Corps book, both fiction and nonfiction, and Eric Jay Sonnenschein's MAD NOMAD is one of the best. It's a quirky, sexy journey through a young man's time in Tunisia that captures the confusing, embarrassing, oddball aspects of living overseas while trying to find your path in life. (It reminds me in some ways of the six months I spent as a volunteer in Zimbabwe.)

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5.0 out of 5 starsof the urgency of love and sex for the relatively young along with the ...

By Bunniman on December 12, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

This book is many things: a fascinating travelogue of Tunisia with lots of local color; a collection of apt witticisms about travel, bureaucracy, the Ugly American, and gender relations; a reminder of how dazed and confused most of us can be in our 20s; and a seemingly honest and at times self-deprecating memoir. Readers are reminded too, of the urgency of love and sex for the relatively young along with the lengths people will go to connect with each other, as well as the near-misses of romance familiar to anyone who has been around the dating block. There is also here a wealth of character sketches of the many people the narrator encounters in his travels, at times a Dickensian array. Some we fall in love with and some are grotesques. Tying everything together is the suspense of not knowing, along with the narrator himself, how things will turn out either with the Peace Corps or with his main love interest, or even at times whether he will make it alive to the end of the story. A great read!