Maurice Reid is a radio producer. He spends his days alone in his dark office communicating only by e-mail. His doctor ascribes this malaise to the constant changes Maurice has been facing at work. The Corporation is being streamlined and Maurice is beginning to wonder if he'll keep his job.
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The setting for Chris Paling's fourth novel is "the Corporation", a radio broadcasting network based on the BBC. Maurice, a radio producer on the verge of a nervous breakdown, has become disillusioned with his work there and, indeed, the sum of parts that make up his shabby life. His wife has left him for another woman and their four-year-old child has remained with her and her aggressive lover in the ex-family home. Maurice has moved flat three times since the separation and his sex life is non-existent. His doctor can prescribe nothing better than anti-depressants for what Maurice describes as a "profound sadness." He spends his working days sending e-mails and sleeping in the gloom of an office in which even the lights don't work, fending off his boss with unconvincing excuses about special projects he is not really working on.
The novel is subdivided into three parts, charting Maurice's downward spiral, his fall from grace in all areas, and his metamorphosis. Each section is prefaced by a quotation from J.C.W. Reith, who wrote about the BBC in "Broadcast over Britain" in 1924. These quotations seem rather pointless, as the novel touches only in passing on the changed and changing place of radio in British life, the dehumanising effect that "streamlining" has had on the creativity of the BBC's workers, and the nostalgia for wartime wireless days which Paling and his protagonist feel. Still, they allude to that era in which the radio bound people's lives together in a less cynical fashion than radio or television do today and perhaps that is what Paling's novel is all about: the impossibility of holding on to one's integrity in a society which has become money- rather than people-led. Maurice is the perfect mournful, droll character to express this gap between humanity and corporate greed. The narrative is rushed and uneven at times but Maurice's poignantly comical approach to life keeps one reading. --Emily OrmondBook Description:
THE SILENT SENTRY is a heartbreakingly funny novel about how a large organisation is defined by the people who work in it - and the perils for both sides if that goes unacknowledged
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Book Description Vintage 15/06/2000, 2000. Book Condition: used-good. - GREAT BOOK IN GOOD OR BETTER CONDITION, NORMALLY SENT SAME DAY FROM WAREHOUSE. Bookseller Inventory # 7719-9780099289890
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