We All Fall Down is a vivid and compelling narrative of middle class friends and families, relationships and the contemporary workplace. Kate and Hugh Drysdale like many couples buy a house that stretches them to the limits financially. Hugh looks at the soaring property market, the fact he’s earning a good salary, and all the signs of a booming economy and believes everything will be fine. And it is, until the advertising company he works for hits a rough patch: two major pieces of business walk out of the door, and a new creative director from the UK is brought in. Set in Sydney when world economic instability is beginning to bite, this is very much a book of our time. Peopled with unforgettable characters it is a disturbing, but affecting portrait of family, the workplace, and the costs of playing, or not playing the game. In We All Fall Down Peter Barry brings his witty, razor-sharp vision to human nature, life in suburbia and the moral dilemmas that face us all.
About the Author
Peter Barry is an itinerant mongrel. He’s English, French, Irish and a Channel Islander. Born in England, he was brought up in Scotland. He has lived in Edinburgh, London, Paris and Sydney. For the meantime he lives with his wife, and works as a copywriter, in Melbourne.
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Comments about We All Fall Down:
We All Fall Down is the second novel by AUtralian author Peter Barry.
Hugh Drysdale is an advertising executive working in Sydney. Hugh enjoys his work, perhaps a little too much according to his wife who complains incessantly that she and their three year old son don't see enough of him. Set in 2007 and 2008 at the beginning of the Global Financial Crisis Hugh is dragged through a difficult period in both his personal and professional lives, culminating in a dramatic fall from grace, giving stock to the expression that nice guys finish last.
Mortgaged to the eyeballs with their new family home an hour's commute from the CBD, nervous and on edge due to the current downsizing at his firm and struggling to balance the proverbial work-life balance and meeting the needs of both his colleagues Hugh's character is an anecdotal representation of the quintessential modern executive employee. Hugh feels trapped by his circumstances, a slave to both his bank manager and his managing director, unable to easily change jobs due to the tight business environment and always trying to keep up with the increasing workload placed upon his firm's tightened staff numbers. All this while his stay at home wife spends the money, dabbling in art and entertains dreams of success with her painting.
It paints a bleak picture of modern working life and the repercussions which can arise from a preoccupation of "making it" in the material sense. It is clear that Barry's goal with this book is to demonstrate the triteness of modern corporate life and the challenges in achieving a positive balance between work and family life, as well as the limited satisfaction found in the pursuit and acquisition of worldly possessions. There is a definite air of exploring modern life values as society dictates them versus what delivers real satisfaction.
To illustrate these themes Barry makes (very) extensive use of long, repetitive discourses from his characters, which drag on often for a page at a time, driving the same emotion home sentence after sentence. Unfortunately such lengthy passages read more like the disillusioned ramblings of their composer than the carefully conceived thoughts & opinions of his characters, forcing me to skim through them so as to avoid becoming too mentally bogged down with negatives emotions. This coupled with a cast of stereotypical characters, each of which possess an agenda which is at clear loggerheads with those around them, and Barry's formula for a seres of logical events is complete.
Reading this book I was overcome with a sense of depression. The lengthy passages aimed at denouncing the "system" and the sheer stupidity displayed by the characters at critical points in the book were frsutrating. This and the predictable story adversely affected the reading experience, often leaving me wanting it to end. I feel these issues might have been alleviated had the story fit into a page count cut by one hundred or so pages.
In a time where many in the public might share the sentiments conatined in the text We All Fall DOwn is a relevant meditation on the current state of work and its increasing deamnds on the litte guy, the impacts of economic and business policy on society and the public slamming of banks and corporate high flyers who pay themselves massive salaries and bonuses. It's just so often an exhausting read.
Service and delivery comments:
Delivered in reasonable time, well packaged, no complaints.
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 1st May 2012
Publisher: Transit Lounge Publishing
Dimensions (cm): 23.0 x 15.3