Saturday, 6 November 2010

Roadwork - 14th October-6th November 2010

I'll start by saying how much I liked Roadwork. A lot.

The least 'horror' of his books I've read so far, barring Rage, it's the one I've found most affecting. The realisation that your humanity is of mere and fleeting concern to the emergent power brokers and ruling elite is crushing enough. In Bart's case, this came after a lifetime of servitude and labour. For the majority of us, it's the road that lays before us and we at least have the option, however grudgingly, whether to trudge its desolate expanse or break free and cavort in the pasture. We're not, like Bart, faced with looking back at the idea of working for a family run or 'community ethos' company with a vested and nurturing interest in its employees as people, not just a commodity or a profit margin factor becoming an arcane and romantic vestige of the past. I don't know...which is worse? Being dealt a shit hand, knowing the deck is stacked or winning a few hands before the rules of the game are changed and breaking even, never-mind winning, is categorically, no longer on the cards.

While the majority of us would have just eaten the shit sandwich with a nod and a smile, accepting the relocations with barely a grumble, it was nice to see him stand up for himself, no matter how ill-fated and unhinged the execution. I suppose, these days, we'd confine our dissatisfactions to tweets and Facebook updates.

Add in the early death of a son and not only do you have an assassinated past but there's also a strangled future to contend with. To say that, as a parent of young children, I felt this more keenly, is an affront to empathy, but there's something particularly chilling to me about the summary suffocation of such a depth of hopes, dreams and transferred aspirations.

I felt his frustrations, and the breakdown of marriage struck a chord. With six years under our belts, my wife and I know that it's never always plain sailing. The thing is, you've committed to be each other's port in the every inevitable storm and that's not easy either, but it's a mutual arrangement that relies on equal participation. He didn't keep his end of the bargain and paid for it. But he's (just a) man and we're awesome at fucking things up, so he's not wholly undeserving of sympathy.

Anyway, no matter how stunted and poorly thought out my ideas in reaction to the book have come across here, I loved Roadwork.

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