Work Like Any Other

Work Like Any Other

A Novel

Book - 2016 | First Scribner hardcover edition.
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In this "inventive, beautiful, and deceptively morally complex novel" ( The Miami Herald ), a prideful electrician in 1920s rural Alabama struggles to overcome past sins, find peace, and rescue his marriage after being sent to prison for manslaughter.

Roscoe T Martin set his sights on a new type of power spreading at the start of the twentieth century: electricity. It became his training, his life's work. But when his wife, Marie, inherits her father's failing farm, Roscoe has to give up his livelihood, with great cost to his sense of self, his marriage, and his family. Realizing he might lose them all if he doesn't do something, he begins to siphon energy from the state, ushering in a period of bounty and happiness. Even the love of Marie and their child seem back within Roscoe's grasp.

Then a young man working for the state power company stumbles on Roscoe's illegal lines and is electrocuted, and everything changes: Roscoe is arrested; the farm once more starts to deteriorate; and Marie abandons her husband, leaving him to face his twenty-year sentence alone. As an unmoored Roscoe carves out a place at Kilby Prison, he is forced to ask himself once more if his work is just that, or if the price of his crimes--for him and his family--is greater than he ever let himself believe.

Work Like Any Other 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. Virginia Reeves's 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).
Publisher: New York ; Toronto : Scribner, 2016.
Edition: First Scribner hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781501112508
Branch Call Number: FIC Reeve
Characteristics: 262 pages ; 24 cm


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Dec 13, 2016

On Man Booker Prize long list this summer. An Alabama man in the 1920s takes his fascination with electricity to dangerous ends and lands him and his tenant in very different prison experiences.

Well written, but just not a fan of the characters or the story.

Nov 13, 2016

I thought this was a compelling read about the price of compromising who one is for another. Recommended!

quagga Oct 14, 2016

Debut novel about guilt and redemption. 1920s rural Alabama. Poverty. Prison. Character-based. Shifting narrative. Vivid. Elegant. Tender.

Oct 12, 2016

This is a novel of dispossession, injustice and redemption. It is at times heart-breaking and very sad. The story is quite unusual and keeps the reader interested throughout. I will recommend it to others.

May 03, 2016

I wasn't upon starting this novel whether I would bother to continue. I felt bored and disconnected from the premise of the novel-conversations seemed unrealistic for the times and culture. I put this in the basket of it being Virginia's first novel.
I persevered and was glad I did. It developed into an absorbing read and is told from different character's point of view. I also felt it was an insight into the life and times of rural residents in 1930's mid west USA.

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