Freedom Read #105

This guy is the business. This is a seriously good novel. Some kind of disjointed perhaps-ghost story.

Needing work, Paddy agrees to drive a truck down from the Midlands, cross the channel and make deliveries to different places in France. He does this for a crew run apparently by two brothers, one of whom, might own the truck. The other brother, Carl, is the guy who gives him work, dodgy tacographs, who keeps tabs on him via texts and who meets him intermittently in service stations across the country.

Paddy / Pat, originally from Ireland, is divorced and his ex-wife appears to live in the States, somewhere north of New York, on the coast. His daughter who normally stays with her mum, is over. She rides with him on their road trip. The conversation between her and her dad, is almost monosyllabic, often hilarious, vicious sarcastic and occasionally tremendously sad.

The writing is spare, sometimes elliptic. While the story is told in an increasingly fragmented way.

There is also something Oedipal at play, with his teenage memories of being with his mother, widowed early, the younger brother being sent – seemingly willingly – to boarding school. Paddy stayed home, learning to mix his mother’s drinks, and then joining her in drinking. The brother, is Paddy’s daughter’s – the daughter has the same name as Paddy’s mother, Kitty – godfather, and apparently that relationship is much better than Paddy has with either of them.

It is a beautiful, if sometimes challenging, read: a book that leaves you feeling slightly off-balance, as if you had missed something that appeared minor, but actually was much more important.

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