Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Shot Of Working Class Culture

Wading through a couple of unread Guardian weekend Review sections recently, I came across an engaging feature by Emma Brockes in which she interviewed Boston writer Dennis Lehane ( ) to mark the publication of his latest novel, The Given Day, which received a qualified endorsement from Chris Petit in the following week's edition ( ).
In Brocke's piece it's immediately apparent that Lehane not only essays gripping & resonant tales, he also gives great soundbite: "Its good not only to realise that you can't please all of the people all of the time, but that you don't want to. There's a certain type of reader that you don't ever want to write for. And that really helps. I impressed a moron, why should I care? Or I pissed off a moron, why should it bother me?"....
"I believed from a very young age that all race warfare is essentially class warfare, and that it's in the better interests of the haves to have the have-nots fighting among themselves. And I believe that to this day. It's probably the strongest socialist tenet that I have."....
In response to being asked by "otherwise mature" compatriots whether unions are needed: "You might want to thank them for the weekend, the eight hour day and the fact that your 12-year-old doesn't work in a sweat mill."
Any one who warms to the background & philosophy which informs Lehane's work will certainly find an echo of it from the same edition of Guardian Review in William Feaver's feature on the "pitmen painters" from the north-east in the 1930s ( ).

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