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The Weekend Man

af Richard B. Wright

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
531471,655 (3.25)4
It is one of those rare novels that readers describe as having "changed my life." First published in the early 1970s, The Weekend Man immediately established Richard B. Wright as a fresh and powerful new voice in North American fiction. Now, with his 1995 double nomination for the Giller Prize and the Governor General's Award for The Age of Longing, Richard B. Wright continues to connect strongly with his audience. A textbook publishing salesman whose life seems poised continually on the verge of free-fall, 30-year-old Wes Wakeham waffles between fighting the sad nostalgia of his past and the certain failure of his future. Shot through with the ironies of urban life, love and lust. The Weekend Man is as relevant in the '90s as it was in the '70s.… (mere)
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THE WEEKEND MAN is seriously good fiction. It's my first time reading Canadian author Richard B. Wright, but I already know I want to read more of his stuff.

Here's how Wright's antihero protagonist, Wes Wakeham, defines a "weekend man" -

"The weekend man simply never learns to live with the thundering ironies. He is forever looking backward and being afflicted by a painful sense of loss or he is looking forward and being continually disappointed. What to do? Well, you'll have to work it out for yourself. I myself just drift along, hoping that the daily passage will deliver up a few painless diversions. Most of the time, however, I am quietly gritting my teeth and just holding on."

And with this definition of terms, slipped so seamlessly into the narrative that you could almost miss it, Wright quietly sets the scene for this darkly funny, bleak tale of one man's daily struggles with those "thundering ironies" of everyday life.

In this early Wright novel, first published in 1970, Wes Wakeham has reason to know about painful losses. His father, a WWII veteran, worked unhappily at the local flour mill - an early example of a weekend man. Both of Wes's parents died in an auto accident when he was in college. Wes is inordinately frightened and forever changed by the Cuban missile crisis in '62. His marriage to Molly seems a bad match, but, given Wes's life philosophy of just 'drifting along' from job to job, maybe marriage was a bad idea in the first place. But Wes does love women, fantasizes sexually about them daily - the women he works with, random females sighted on the street - despite still loving his wife. The fantasies and inner monologues are almost Thurber-ish, but with dark twists. Wes's character is perhaps most reminiscent, though, of Updike's Harry 'Rabbit' Angstrom, in the way he flees responsibility and any prospects of upward mobility, looking for those 'painless diversions.' And he finds them. In a story that covers less than a week, Wes manages a quick roll in the hay with his estranged wife, another one-night liaison with a lonely teacher, and a few frustrated gropes of his middle-aged secretary at the office Christmas party.

Think Thurber, Walter Mitty lusting in his mind over other women. But closer to RABBIT, RUN, to my mind. (Full of sixties trivia about TV and old movies that drew me in, made me remember it all.) Mostly Richard B. Wright though. Because this guy has his own unique voice, and I want to hear more of it. Wright is, it seems, famous in Canada, but down here? Well, maybe it's just me, but I'd never heard of him. Now I want to tell everyone about him. More about Wright later in subsequent reviews, I'm sure. LOVED this book! Very highly recommended. ( )
  TimBazzett | Jan 7, 2016 |
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It is one of those rare novels that readers describe as having "changed my life." First published in the early 1970s, The Weekend Man immediately established Richard B. Wright as a fresh and powerful new voice in North American fiction. Now, with his 1995 double nomination for the Giller Prize and the Governor General's Award for The Age of Longing, Richard B. Wright continues to connect strongly with his audience. A textbook publishing salesman whose life seems poised continually on the verge of free-fall, 30-year-old Wes Wakeham waffles between fighting the sad nostalgia of his past and the certain failure of his future. Shot through with the ironies of urban life, love and lust. The Weekend Man is as relevant in the '90s as it was in the '70s.

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