Shifts

Christopher Meredith, Author Seren Books $0 (214p) ISBN 978-0-907476-92-4
The locker-room banter of laborers in a faltering steel mill in Wales--self-named ``men of steel''--belies a poverty so harsh that one of them keeps track of how many times he can re-use a plastic lunch bag. In this promising if uneven first novel by a Welsh poet, a young man who has spent some years in another part of the country returns to the mill. Although he believes that marriage is as grim as ``a grinning skull,'' he moves in with a couple known to him since school days. Meredith does not simply relate what can happen when two men who work opposite shifts live with the same woman--he tries to delve past the bawdiness of the men and the blankness of the woman, searching for value in the interests and obsessions of people who are ``like lifers making models out of matchsticks.'' Flat passages, such as the many repetitive factory scenes, delay the pleasures of such keen phrases as ``natural selection of the emotions'' (to describe the process of courtship). (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Paperback - 232 pages - 978-1-85411-199-9
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