Hard Change Paperback – 12 Dec 2012
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What is clear here is that the author has a strong grasp on processes that may often be invisible to those living and working outside the world of policy makers. Given the importance of what happens in this world, I suspect it's time I paid a little more attention.
It took me a little while to get into the swing of the book. In part, this is due to the 'political thriller' tag it carries. I'm not sure 'thriller' is the right categorisation. To me, it's more of a literary novel.
As the plot unfolds and the authorities try to come to terms with a serious alcohol problem, the book reveals the complexities of meetings and human interactions and the role of ambition and passion and how, when all the ingredients are put into the mix, making decisions is far from being a simple process.
Dawn Reeves is a fine writer. The prose is clear and clean and flows nicely. Her characters are very well-drawn and the detail of her characterisations suggest that she must be a fine observer.
Of all things in the story, I think I particularly enjoyed the humour - it ranges from gentle to dark to observational to cutting and it's very well played.
This is a very good debut and I think there will be some great Dawn Reeves books to look forward to in the future; I certainly hope so.
perceived survival needs with the collective needs of the community in which they live; an age-old dilemma of individual 'ego' versus 'the greater good'.
The novel significantly increases in pace towards the final denouement, in which the spirit of 'the greater good' unexpectedly triumphs with several unpredictable twists and turns along the way. Whilst the book is described as a 'political thriller', there is nothing didactic in Reeves' tone, and the reader is left to draw their own conclusions. A very modern novel, encapsulating timeless themes - a real accomplishment for an original upcoming novelist!
If you have never worked in the strange world of local government, or never had any dealings with it (like I had) this is what it's really like. People who think public servants don't care and are only in it for the pension and an easy life will see in this book how many officer really want to make a better world but are thwarted by "the system".
If I have a criticism it is that perhaps the characters are a bit black and white: too earnest or to bad. There is a world of grey out there and perhaps a bit of humour or light relief would have helped. Some of the funniest people I've ever met work in the public sector.
Read this and experience a different life!