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White Lung

james hörner

if you've ever worked in your life there will be something in Grant Buday's excellent book you can relate to. it's the story of Klaus and his co-workers, trying to struggle through day to day existence at a bakery.

white lung book cover Klaus is a character caught in troubles, both past and present, and works to resolve them through way too many Becks. the story is about a production factory that might be downsized or taken over, and how the many workers react to this potential life disaster. throughout is the recurring fear of "white lung," the baker's equivalent to the coal miner's "black lung."

although the story focuses on middle-aged Klaus, it holds an impressive array of other characters which are also thoroughly developed and explored. there are Wong and Sing who are both ladder climbers, Keegan the long-time union man, and Epp, the worker who just can't take it any more. basically, Buday has captured the dynamic of the work place, from top to bottom, from public to private, and presents them in the guise of a mass production bakery.

White Lung is blackly funny at times, but also impressively true to the depressing nature of the workplace. it is a novel so real we can relate to it, yet so absurd we have to laugh that it is possible.

i believe i read somewhere that Buday had worked for some time in a bakery himself, and that would certainly explain the authentic feel of this book. White Lung is a powerful read which makes one think more about both society, work, as well as their own life and future.

published by anvil press
ISBN 1-895636-20-5

james hörner edits canadian content.

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