Adam Thorpe Shifts

ISBN 13: 9780099284314

Shifts

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9780099284314: Shifts

In his first collection of short stories, Adam Thorpe, acclaimed poet and novelist, explores the lives of his characters through the work they do: the jobs that empower or enslave, define or destroy them. Whether it is a dustman or a craftsman, on an English production line or deep in the forests of Africa, work is seen as a means of social classification, an engine of prejudice or compassion or as an arena where bullying and subservience have some kind of legitimacy. Do we choose the job or does the job choose us, Adam Thorpe asks: does the job become us or do we become the job? Using the framework of occupation, its mundane tedium, its strictures and releases, we are shown the unquenchable vitality of the human spirit: its continual capacity for a life beyond. Told with vivid energy and a poet's delight in language, Shifts confirms Adam Thorpe as one of the most talented writers of his generation.

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Product Description:

In his first collection of short stories, poet and novelist Thorpe explores the lives of his characters through the work that they do. The first-person confessionals include a Ghanaian immigrant with an identity crisis; a bin-man uncovering spooky filth; and a death caused by Verlaine's cigar butt.

Review:

Shifts, Adam Thorpe's first collection of short stories, appearing in the wake of three novels, Ulverton, Still, and Pieces of Light, and three volumes of poetry, including From the Neanderthal, takes as its premise the fact that what we do has a bearing on what we are, that work is what defines and shapes us. The 12 stories here are all first-person narratives, and range widely in time and place: from the memories of an English bin-man to an Australian mason struggling for employment in France, from the tribulations of a Ghanaian immigrant in 1960s London to sawmill workers in post-independence Congo. Thorpe displays an almost virtuoso ability for mimicry, for the idiosyncratic cadences and rhythms of speech and the way in which the cant and argot of the workplace seeps into the vocabulary and metaphorical reach of the protagonists, as in the story "Glass":

Her face was all sour. More and more she looks like her mum, with her hair rolled up like that, and the parting. You can see her bare skin in the parting. Like its been engraved. Like her head is smoked glass and I've taken a sand-engraver to it. Or brushed a line of my hot glue mixture, ripping it off when it's hard.
This is not just a series of exercises in ventriloquism: Thorpe, ever aware of the social contexts beyond the localised perspectives of the individual, illuminates issues of racism and class, the legacy of war and imperialism, the relationships between men and women, and how the facts of work affect partners and families, through the tensions and releases of what people choose or are forced to do for a living. This, however, is never at the expense of good storytelling or the human dramas of everyday life--the tales are by turns poignant and witty, tragic and epiphanic, always revelatory of the complex humanity that lies behind each social facade. -- Burhan Tufail

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Adam Thorpe
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Book Description Vintage, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. Shifts This book is in very good condition and will be shipped within 24 hours of ordering. The cover may have some limited signs of wear but the pages are clean, intact and the spine remains undamaged. This book has clearly been well maintained and looked after thus far. Money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. See all our books here, order more than 1 book and get discounted shipping. . Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9780099284314

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Book Description Vintage, 2001. Paperback. Book Condition: Good. Shifts This book is in good or better condition. It has no tears to the pages and no pages will be missing from the book. The spine of the book is still in great condition and the front cover is generally unmarked. It has signs of previous use but overall is in really nice, tight condition. Shipping is normally same day from our UK warehouse. We offer a money back guarantee if you are not satisfied. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780099284314

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: Very Good. In his first collection of short stories, poet and novelist Thorpe explores the lives of his characters through the work that they do. The first-person confessionals include a Ghanaian immigrant with an identity crisis; a bin-man uncovering spooky filth; and a death caused by Verlaine's cigar butt. Num Pages: 256 pages. BIC Classification: FA; FYB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 129. Weight in Grams: 187. Some minor shelf wear but remains very good. 2001. Paperback. . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # KTJ0044439

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Very Good. The book has been read, but is in excellent condition. Pages are intact and not marred by notes or highlighting. The spine remains undamaged. Bookseller Inventory # GOR001475310

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: Good. The book has been read but remains in clean condition. All pages are intact and the cover is intact. Some minor wear to the spine. Bookseller Inventory # GOR005967259

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Book Description Vintage 04/01/2001, 2001. Book Condition: Good. Will be shipped promptly from UK warehouse. Book is in good condition with no missing pages, no damage or soiling and tight spine. There may be some dog-eared pages showing previous use but overall a great book. Bookseller Inventory # 9053-9780099284314

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Book Description Vintage, 2001. Book Condition: Very Good. In his first collection of short stories, poet and novelist Thorpe explores the lives of his characters through the work that they do. The first-person confessionals include a Ghanaian immigrant with an identity crisis; a bin-man uncovering spooky filth; and a death caused by Verlaine's cigar butt. Num Pages: 256 pages. BIC Classification: FA; FYB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 129. Weight in Grams: 187. Some minor shelf wear but remains very good. 2001. Paperback. . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # KTJ0044439

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Book Description Vintage, 2001. 1st edition.. Paperback, F. 239pp, a mint as new copy. A collection of 12 short stories on the theme of work, and what work dose to people & their lives. 200 grams. Bookseller Inventory # 12751

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Book Description Vintage, 2001. 1st edition.. Paperback, F. 239pp, a mint as new copy. A collection of 12 short stories on the theme of work, and what work does to people and their lives. 200 grams. Bookseller Inventory # 12752

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