- Paperback: 400 pages
- Publisher: Scribner UK; Export edition (March 1, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1471152227
- ISBN-13: 978-1471152221
- Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 0.9 x 13.7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 340 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
Work Like Any Other: Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize
'A traditional story about human struggle in a now vanished America, this classic novel will appeal to admirers of Daniel Woodrell's Winter's Bone.' * Irish Times on Work Like Any Other * "A slow-burning pleasure... Wonderful... Brutal, beautiful, and, to some significant extent, redemptive." * Daily Mail * "Beautifully written, this is an unusual and moving debut." * Sunday Times on Work Like Any Other * "Reeves's novel, with its strong sense of time and place and its interrelating cast of inmates and guards, calls to mind those Stephen King books set in prisons, The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption, that were adapted into films. But it is Paul Harding's Pulitzer prize-winning novel, Tinkers, that is perhaps a better comparison here because of its many bewitching passages of description of electricity... Reeves is a fine wrangler of words, able to snake sentences of slithery charisma in and around each other. This is especially true in her depictions of time and place: her settings and the people in them stand firm and vivid in the mind's eye." * The Australian * "The novel's great strength is that in showing so much in terms of race, our prison system, forgiveness and labor, it never is heavy-handed. . . . Reeves' nuance for these people and this story is, indeed, quite powerful." * Hans Weyandt, Minneapolis Star-Tribune * "[An] inventive, beautiful and deceptively morally complex novel." * Nick Mancusi, The Miami Herald * "Author Virginia Reeves has delivered a commanding, dramatic novel of life in 1920s Alabama, inside a family torn apart my anger, resentment, shame, guilt, and desire. This is a deeply gripping portrayal of Americana in the Deep South, replete with racism, violence, and heartbreak. Astonishingly well-written." * New York Journal of Books * "A morally complicated ode to Alabama." * Jackson Free Press * "Work Like Any Other" is addictive when it focuses on Roscoe's life behind bars, and the perils he suffers, a good man you can't help but have sympathy for, but one earmarked for suffering. . . . A book worth reading." * The Missourian * "Thoughtful, absorbing... In this engrossing, vividly drawn debut, Reeves delivers a dazzlingly authentic portrait of a restless, remorseful mind." * Publishers Weekly * "Eloquent and acutely self-aware... Prose so lovely that it strains credulity... Elegant." * Kirkus * "Virginia Reeves has built her first novel with the craft and seriousness of purpose of a master carpenter. When the pieces come together, you're astonished at what a thing of beauty has appeared before your eyes." -- Anthony Giardina, author of Norumbega Park "A riveting debut that oscillates between past and present, between the high price of hope and the betrayals of progress. Both an intimate family saga and a heartbreaking cautionary tale, Work Like Any Other is, above all, a starkly beautiful novel." -- Cristina Garcia, author of Dreaming in Cuban "Work Like Any Other is a beautifully accomplished first novel. She draws the reader in with such ease, and plumbs the depths of her characters with such acuteness and care, I was totally won over." -- James Magnuson, author of The Hounds of Winter "Virginia Reeves' assured and absorbing debut novel is a potent mix of icy honesty and heart-wrenching tenderness; it is certainly a Work Unlike Any Other, in that its humanity and optimism are salvaged from the darkest of places, from prison cells, from mining shafts, from decomposing marriages, and from the unforgiving workings of the land." -- Jim Crace, author of Harvest and Being Dead "The world of this exquisite novel - 1920s Alabama - hasn't let go of me since I finished it. It's gorgeous, painful, original, and so true in all its details. Reeves writes with incredibly intelligent compassion, and in Roscoe Martin has created an extraordinary man who more than earns his place among the complicated population of the literary South. Thick with dread and beauty, this is a stunning chronicle of a time, a place, and a mind." -- Fiona McFarlane, author of The Night Guest "This is a consummately well-written, deeply affecting, thought-provoking American historical novel of hard labor, broken dreams, moral dilemmas, violence, racism, and the intricacies of marriage, parenthood, and friendship. Hope is found in reading, compassion, forgiveness, and good, honest work, whatever form it takes. Reeves' gripping, dynamically plotted, and profound novel will resonate on different frequencies for men and women and spark soul-searching and heated discussion." * Booklist, Starred Review * "How brilliantly Virginia Reeves brings to life her protagonist, Roscoe T Martin, with his hatred of farming, his love of electricity and his long struggle to make amends to himself, his family and his friends. Work Like Any Other is a novel of fierce beauty and hard-won redemption. A wonderful debut." -- Margot Livesey, author of The Flight of Gemma Hardy "Work Like Any Other is an exceptional novel told in clear, direct, and starkly beautiful language. Virginia Reeves has a gift for bringing to life all the tensions that emerge wherever people, place, and progress collide. I absolutely loved it." -- Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds "A striking debut about love and redemption, the heavy burdens of family and guilt and learning how to escape them. Powerfully told and lyrically written, there is not a false note in this book. Reeves is a major new talent." -- Philipp Meyer, author of The Son
About the Author
Virginia Reeves is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas in Austin. Her fiction has appeared in The Common and The Baltimore Review and has been shortlisted for the Tennessee Williams Fiction Contest and the Alexander Patterson Cappon Fiction Award. Virginia has spent the majority of her life in Montana, but currently lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two daughters.
No customer reviews
|5 star (0%)||0%|
|4 star (0%)||0%|
|3 star (0%)||0%|
|2 star (0%)||0%|
|1 star (0%)||0%|
Review this product
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
What defines a man? Is it his vocation? The worst thing he's ever done? His guilt? His redemption?
These are the questions at the heart of this somber, poignant little novel about Roscoe T Martin, an electrician at the turn of the 20th century who ends up in prison for his indirect involvement in the death of a man.
It should have been simple: Roscoe came up with a seemingly harmless way to steal negligible amounts of electricity from the nearby city to power his family's struggling farm. It should have salvaged his marriage and his relationship with his young son. But then a man stumbled upon Roscoe's illegal lines and was electrocuted, and Roscoe's life was forever changed.
Work Like Any Other is a quiet, understated story about a man who loses everything, about the consequences that can follow even the most well-intentioned actions. There's so much heart-breaking poignancy packed into this novel, but most powerful of all is the feeling of senselessness throughout.
At one point, Roscoe laments that all of this is happening simply "because George Haskins was ignorant enough to get himself killed on the transformers I'd so carefully built to run current to a dying farm."
In Work Like Any Other, Reeves confronts us with this sense of life's futility and unfairness, but she doesn't strand us there in the darkness. Instead, she offers a glimmer of hard-earned hope.
Roscoe T Martin was a lucky man. He knew who he was, and what he was, and what was important to him. He identified himself whenever asked. He didn't brag, he wasn't a big I AM. He was an electrician. He was experienced, and knowledgeable about electricity, and loved. it. I could say nothing more, or nothing less, except there is more. He imagined and created. And he endured. He endured every hurt, both from his family and the cruelties of prison life. Yet he did the best job he could of any job he was given. Any job. Virginia Reeves has written an elegant, thoughtful book.
The US prison system in the 1920s, the beginning of rural electricity distribution, and the breakdown of a marriage don't inspire as topics to underpin a novel, but the writer ties them together in a compelling way.
The main character's mental torment at the loss of his family and the brutality of his life experiences make for gripping reading, set as they are within rich imagery observed and distilled by the writer.