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Palookaville: Clyde Fans Book One h/c

Palookaville: Clyde Fans Book One h/c back

Seth

Price: 
14.99

Page 45 Review by Mark

Two brothers inherit their father's company, selling and manufacturing fans. In the first half of the book it's 1997 and Abraham Matchcard wanders through his day, looking back through the ups and downs of the business, admitting that they were unprepared for the rise of the air conditioner industry. Once thriving, Clyde Fans was overtaken by technological progress, too self-assured to change track when advancements took place. At the abandoned headquarters he voices regrets for his life and that of his brother, Simon:

"Christ, it's the norm for a salesman to promote himself. That's the number one produce he's selling. It's also a quality I've always found repulsive in myself and others."

We go back to 1947 for the second part of the story. Arriving in the small Canadian town of Dominion, Simon is out of his depth. He's asked to be a travelling salesman, wanting to prove himself to his brother, but without the requisite charm and bluff he finds himself knocked back a few times, backing away with sweaty palms. As he walks the street, the buildings seem to crowd him out. He can't face phoning Abe to say how its all going. And it's not going well.

This is not only an excellent character study but also a delicately drawn evocation of the past. Seth, as we know from IT'S A GOOD LIFE IF YOU DON'T WEAKEN, has sympathies for Abe and his feelings of being left behind as the world expands and thunders on. The detailing of the clothes and stores is wonderful, right down to the cheap, plastic novelties another salesman is hawking. There are a dazzling few pages at the beginning showing the dawn approaching as we see the light falling on the buildings. As the pressure builds for Simon, his brother is shown in single panels, looking down on him like an angry God. We feel the guilt and panic. The second book should tell us why he had to get away and why the trip to Dominion was such a turning point of his life.
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