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The Dead Man's Pedal


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The Deadman's Pedal by Alan Warner

 

Set in 1970's, 15 year old Simon Crimmons is finished school for the Summer holidays. He has a new girlfriend, his first, and is longing to get a job and a motorbike. With his father running a haulage company, this would seem an opportunity for a job. However his father is adamant that he should stay in school and when he is 18, he can come work for him. Much to his father and mother's dismay, Simon eventually near the summers end, gets a job as a trainee train driver (his father's main competitors for carrying stock).

 

From Simon's considerably wealthy background, his girlfriend Nikki is from the nearest town's estate so her family is somewhat poorer.

 

While out with friends and his wee brother (coming from a country where wee is also, along with Scotland, used as a term meaning small, I'm used to using the word. My own county's nickname is The Wee County), he becomes enchanted with Varie Bultitude. The daughter of the aristocratic landowner ( In relation to this, the first chapter of the book is to do with the Queen's visit to the Bultitude's house back in the 1960's and the preparations). After a chance encounter in a book shop in town with Varie's brother, Alexander, he becomes friends with her and her brother. This is why I brought up the class difference between Simon and Nikki because this is another contrasting class difference.

 

The dialogue between the different character's is very good, particularly with Simon's new colleagues at the train station and enjoyable with some good comic touches.

 

I found the central theme to be With independence comes responsibility.

 

I don't think the ending was wholely conclusive to the storyline but I might be blinded with Warner's previous book "The Stars in the Bright Sky" where he revisited the characters from "The Sopranos" so there could be that expectation of a follow on to this in 10 years time.

 

For me, Warner has furthered his reputation as an excellent writer with this book.

 

*****

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