Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (Black Swan 2004)

His father always told both his sons not to follow him down the pit but it was hard to get away from mining when it was the only industry in town. Jackson never considered the future but he thought being a miner looked OK, the comradeship, the drinking - like being in a grown-up gang really - but his father said it was a job that you wouldn’t make a dog do, and this was a man who hated dogs. Everyone voted Labour, men and women, but they weren’t socialists, they ‘craved the fruits of capitalism' more than anyone, that’s what his father said. His father was a socialist, the bitter, chip-on-the-shoulder Scottish kind that attributed everything that had gone wrong with his life to someone else but particularly ‘capitalist bosses’.

Jackson had no idea what capitalism was and no desire to know. Francis said it was driving a Ford Consul and buying a Servis twin-tub for his mother and Jackson was the only person who knew that when Francis had become part of the first generation of eighteen-year-olds to vote last year he had put his cross next to the name of the Tory candidate, even though ‘he hadn’t a fart in hell’s chance’ of winning. Their father would have disowned Francis (possibly killed him) because the Tories wanted to wipe the miners off the face of the earth and Francis said who gives a fuck because he planned to save enough money to drive a Cadillac across the States, pausing only to salute the King at the gates of Graceland and otherwise not stopping until he hit the Pacific Highway. Their mother died the week after the election so politics weren't on anyone's mind for a while, although their father tried hard to find a way of blaming the government for the cancer that ate Fidelma up and then spat her out as a shrivelled, yellowed husk to die on a morphine drip in a side ward of the Wakefield General.


robert said...

And now a BBC six-parter, starting tonight (SPGB side of the pond) at 9.
Lead role goes to Jason Isaacs.

Darren said...

Cheers for the heads up about Jackson Brodie. I really want to see that . . . and there are ways and means.