From Magnus Mills, the acknowledged master of the working-class dystopic parable—a genre he practically invented—a new work of comic genius
The whole idea is simple yet so perfect: men drive to and from strategically placed warehouses in Univans—identical and serviceable vehicles—transporting replacement parts for...Univans. Gloriously self-perpetuating, the Scheme was designed to give an honest day’s wage for an honest day’s labor. That it produces nothing does not obtain. Our hero in Magnus Mills’ mesmerizing new work is a five-year veteran of the Scheme: he knows the best routes, the easiest managers, the quickest ways in and out. Inevitably, trouble begins to brew. A woman arrives on the scene. Some workers develop delivery sidelines. And most disturbing of all, not all participants are in agreement. There are “Flat-Dayers,” who believe the Scheme’s eight-hour day is sacrosanct and inviolable, and there are “Swervers,” who fancy being let off a little early now and again. Disagreement turns to argument, argument to debate, debate to outright schism. Soon the Flat-Dayers and Swervers have pushed the Scheme to the very brink of disaster...and readers to the edge of their chairs in delight.
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A self-perpetuating means of creating employment provides an allegory for welfare programs and a light meditation on the working class in Magnus Mills's novel The Scheme for Full Employment. Making appointed rounds in UniVans to pick up boxes (containing, what else, UniVan parts), our unnamed protagonist stays the course (mostly, except when he couriers a birthday cake and charts unknown--and unauthorized--territory) while labor unrest stirs between those who champion the eight-hour day and those who want to cut corners and slip out of work early. It is refreshing to see a plot-driven novel come along that is devoid of self-absorbed narration, but the book bounces along on one note; it lacks the depth necessary to be a truly evocative commentary.
Mills's prose is sufficient and the story is well paced. As for the glory of "The Scheme," Mills tells us, "What could be nicer than an excursion in a UniVan on a bright spring morning?... Every so often, when I caught sight of my vehicle reflected in some huge glass-fronted office building, it seemed there could be no better way to earn a living." For a light-hearted, amusing read, The Scheme for Full Employment is worth a quick spin. --Michael FerchAbout the Author:
Magnus Mills is the author of The Restraint of Beasts, All Quiet on the Orient Express, and Three to See the King. He lives in London.
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Book Description Flamingo, 2003. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0007151314