AIR DAY'S WORK by Nicholas Monsarrat


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...for a fair day's pay. It used to be all the unions asked for, but what that rallying cry has become is the subject of the author's latest addition to a projected fiction series dealing with current problems. (See Smith & Jones, p. 139-1963) The setting is dockside Liverpool where a passenger liner waits to leave; whether or not it can depends upon the malevolently organized whim of a malcontent understeward who wishes to incite his fellows to strike. All he really wants is a fair day's pay for no work at all. It's an oversimplified presentation of a situation stocked with cardboard characters who won't stand much exposure to the salt sea air that Monsarrat creates so well. There are: the young steward (feather-bedded labor), the old steward (enough's enough), the union leader (demagogue), the captain (company man), and his board chairman (the management). The greatest stereotypes are the faceless, mindless union members ready to strike just for a lark, bitting and ruining the hand that no longer will be able to feed them. In fact, organized labor comes off so meanly motivated here, that the elements of truth that do exist in the situation are almost lost in the fog, and the sturdy storytelling reels under the polemical load.

Pub Date: March 12th, 1964
Publisher: Morrow