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Smallcreep's Day by Peter Currell Brown I was living and working in Colchester when I read this book.
I guess some of this may go over the heads of anyone who is not English as so much of it reflects the class system in England, especially in the post war years. It also mirrors the divide between workers and unions and management. I also thought that the rhythm of the book was a good expression of the reality of working in a large engineering factory and the sheer mindlessness of most of the work. As someone else remarked in their review about the mundanity of parts of it.The ending of the book where Smallcreep is back at his machine is a powerful allegory to the disappointment of postwar years where after all the struggle both in the war and after with the fight to get better wages and conditions and still at the end of the work was mindless repetition.The endemic futility of his quest is the most brutal truth of just about most factory workers lives.And yet, this dark depressing truth somehow lightens out spirit as we read it. A stark, surreal journey into the heart of darkness of capitalism. Don't miss it.
Ken-Me-Old-Mate | outras 2 resenhas | Sep 24, 2020 |
I have a great fondness for this book.
I have always appreciate this type of satirical fiction from Aldous Huxley's Brave New World to the films of Terry Gilliam (Brazil, Twelve Monkeys).
Certainly, I feel that the film Brazil owes a great deal of it's imagery to what was written down by Brown in his story about a gargantuan factory complex belching steam and noise, filling whole rooms with a nonsensical network of rattling pipes, with oppressed and dehumanised workers literally chained to their posts. The world he has created is both surreal and nightmarish and very Gilliamesque.
You also get the feel of some of John Grierson's industrial documentaries from the early 60's.

Pinquean Smallcreep, 1644/254; is a factory employee working on the same slotting section, making pulleys, for sixteen years who over time has developed a higher state of sentience from the other workers by brooding over one question "what is at the end of the production line. What does the factory produce".
He may as well have been asking the greater question "what is the meaning of life itself!" which is basically what the factory represents with its rich tapestry representing the whole of the human condition from birth in the factory itself to death and beyond.

The factory in this story is a microcosm of the outside world. Or, perhaps the world in which we live is nothing more than a great factory itself - which I suspect Peter C. Brown was in fact vividly pointing out to us.
The language used in the book never attempts to overreach the level of its main character, which is good. Smallcreep is a thinking man with higher expectations than most; But, he is nevertheless a product of his own environment and limited by it as such.

Having worked myself, not in factories such as the the one in this book, but, certainly in bureaucratic and oppressive companies including local government, and manual labour at the very lowest levels, I can fully appreciate some of the small minded attitudes and situations Smallcreep comes across during his travels.

On a personal note; my copy of this book, an early Panther edition from 1968 I picked up in a second-hand bookshop, is battered and has coffee stained pages and at some point during the late 1980's was unceremoniously recycled as a student's notepad - evident by various financial outgoings and topical graffiti covering the end papers, as well as notes on Greek poets and quotes from Hamlet scrawled on the back pages in berol. It is very much a reading copy on it's last legs. To be honest, due to it's condition I may very well have missed my opportunity to experience this forgotten gem as at first glance I picked it up only briefly between finger and thumb before sneering and dropping it right back on the shelf; but, there was something captivating about the cover design (by Jack Larkin) that drew me back. I read the back cover (though notes on the Chartists movement) then the teaser page - before I knew it I was on the first chapter and hooked!

In a way the tatty condition of this copy feels as if it may have come right off of the greasy floor of the factory described within it's own grubby pages. A bit like reading a scorched copy of Fahrenheit 451, it is a tactile sensation which adds another dimension to the experience.
Add to this the smell of old books, which magically transports the reader through time and space like Bastian Balthazar Bux.
You don't get this with a Kindle copy, but if this is the only way you can find this book, then I would still recommend it.
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Sylak | outras 2 resenhas | Jun 2, 2014 |
I was delighted to come across a copy of this little known book because in a previous incarnation I used to be rather a fan of prog rock and ...
... Oops, let me start again ...
... I was delighted to come across a copy of this little known book because I have a friend who used to like prog rock and had, as a teenager in the very early 1980s, bought a copy of Mike Rutherford's first solo album which had been inspired by, and took its title from, this novel.
Sadly the book did not live up to my (or, rather, my friend's) expectations: words that leap to mind include facile, naive, stilted. In fact, the connection with the Mike Rutherford album is not merely the most, but possibly the only, interesting thing about this. To be honest, even the album sounds rather dated and stilted now, too!
Eyejaybee | outras 2 resenhas | Oct 7, 2012 |
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