- File Size: 1748 KB
- Print Length: 208 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Peasantry Press (May 1, 2016)
- Publication Date: May 1, 2016
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B01DC6BCTQ
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,387,755 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Labor Day Kindle Edition
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|Length: 208 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
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"The Other Woman" by Sandie Jones
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By genetically crossing human and cockroach DNA, the hybrid race, and their descendants, are referred to as "enhanced". We are told that only a portion of the population agreed to these experiments - and that is where the homo sapiens species evolutionary path came to a fork in the road.
But that's not what this book is about. As of the beginning of the novel, the "roaches" (as they are less-politely referred to) have become the ruling economic class. For all intents, they are the new 1%.
And THAT is what this book is about.
Following the story of Thomas Fried, a furniture salesman with a gregarious - if overbearing - roach boss, Fried is our window into a future where globalization has reigned supreme, and the working class are literally reduced to eating mealworms and grubs for protein. We quickly realize that this is the same future that Orwell predicted- except that Big Brother is now Big Business. Speaking out about poor working conditions, or anything else that might disparage the economy is punishable by arrest, beating, or disappearance. The police are the pawns of the companies. Thomas wants nothing more than to survive, unharmed, to carry on with his loveless marriage, and maybe, possibly, earn a "big commission" on a sale one day. This proves impossible as circumstances arise that will change his views on everything, and draw him into the centre of a massive conflict.
The answer to all of these woes? Unionize.
The power of unions to bring about change, to increase the standard of living, and to restore power to the people is held up to an almost mythical standard here. For the reader who has (as I have) grown up in a country where some of the bigger unions began to overreach and swell under their own size, this positioning may be a bit of a stumbling block. As you read on, though - and it is an engrossing story - one begins to realize that the negativity towards unions in the media and common thought has outlived the reality. After all - we are living in a world right this moment where the merest mention of paying people at Walmart a living wage causes owner outrage, and political condemnation. Raise the minimum wage? Communists!!!
So, while the messaging of Labor Day is about as subtle as a sledgehammer in places, it nonetheless contains many close to the bone truths that make for uncomfortable modern day comparisons.
There are some places where the book's otherwise steady pace falters, and the introduction of a controlling corporate junta of roaches seems unnecessary. These scenes take a story that is, to that point, compelling, and make it cartoonish - as if the newscasts of the G8 conferences suddenly cut away to a meeting of Spectre in a Bond film. Thankfully, these scenes are brief.
Farley's story ultimately prevails, and he draws all the action to a close in a very tight climax. I was drawing near the end and thinking it was going to be a cliffhanger to an as-yet-unwritten sequel - but to my glad surprise, the book comes to a very satisfying conclusion. Sharp-eyed readers will pick out that there are some clunky bits to the book, especially in the application of the omniscient point of view, but ultimately the story carries through.
It's a book for our current times - and may just change a few minds.
Fortunately, the characters are drawn with such a fine pen that the reader can quickly empathise with the main protagonists. In a world where many of the leading citizens have some degree of cockroach DNA, together with various aspects of that insect’s appearance and characteristics, this is a very good thing!
As with the world today, there are those who have and those who have not, with the majority falling into the latter classification, again, much like today.
This is a well-observed study of human nature, set in a cleverly imagined world with much intriguing detail. I was gripped from the start and read through in one sitting to the satisfying and inevitable conclusion.
A very good read.