LONGLISTED FOR THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE FOR FICTION 2016
Placing itself perfectly alongside acclaimed work by Philipp Meyer, Jane Smiley and J M Coetzee, this debut novel charts the story of Roscoe T Martin in rural Alabama in the 1920s.
Roscoe has set his sights on a new type of power spreading at the start of the 20th century: electricity. It becomes his training, his life's work. But when his wife Marie inherits her father's failing farm, Roscoe has to give it up, with great cost to his pride and sense of self, his marriage and his family.
Realising that he might lose them all, he uses his skills as an electrician to siphon energy from the state, ushering in a period of bounty and happiness on a farm recently falling to ruin. Even the love of Marie and their son seems back within Roscoe's grasp.
Then everything changes. A young man is electrocuted on their land. Roscoe is arrested for manslaughter and - no longer an electrician or even a farmer - he must now carve out a place in a violent new world.
'Gorgeously spare and brilliantly insightful, Work Like Any Other is a striking debut about love and redemption, the heavy burdens of family and guilt, and learning how to escape them . . .Virginia Reeves is a major new talent' Philipp Meyer, bestselling author of The Son
'An exceptional novel . . . I absolutely loved it' Kevin Powers, author of The Yellow Birds
'Assured and absorbing . . . a potent mix of icy honesty and heart-wrenching tenderness' Jim Crace, author of Harvest and Being Dead
Virginia Reeves is a graduate of the Michener Center for Writers at the University of Texas at Austin. Her debut novel, Work Like Any Other, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, and Booklist named it to their Top 10 First Novels of 2016. Virginia lives with her husband and daughters in Helena, Montana, where she teaches writing and speech at Helena College. The Behavior of Love is her second novel.
"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
"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
“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
“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
"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
"A slow-burning pleasure... Wonderful... Brutal, beautiful, and, to some significant extent, redemptive."
– Daily Mail
"Beautifully written, this is an unusual and moving debut."
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