A wonderfully original fable which will appeal to readers of all ages, from 'a British writer to be treasured' (Independent on Sunday) 'Of course, if this had been any other country The Scheme would still be going today. In any other country it would have been regarded as a national treasure. Planned to the finest detail by people of vision, The ...
A wonderfully original fable which will appeal to readers of all ages, from 'a British writer to be treasured' (Independent on Sunday) 'Of course, if this had been any other country The Scheme would still be going today. In any other country it would have been regarded as a national treasure. Planned to the finest detail by people of vision, The Scheme was watertight, and could not possibly go wrong. Except in this country.' Life on The Scheme is like being in a great big feather bed. You've got your full uniform provided, winter and summer, subsidized cups of tea and sandwiches, the opportunity for a quiet doze in a lay-by while you wait to clock off, and a generous weekly wage. And all you've got to do is turn up for work every day! But it could all so easily come to an end. Already, workers are beginning to divide into opposing camps, and a new superintendent has arrived, intent on sending The Scheme the way of 'all those other failed social experiments, like public transport, school dinners and municipal orchestras'. Might the chill winds of change spell an end to our glorious summer?
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-10-21 The British seem to have a particular talent for producing mordant satires of working-class mores, and Mills (The Restraint of Beasts, etc.) proves again that he is one of the best writers in the genre. In his latest labor satire-cum-parable, he takes on the post-Keynesian capitalist business model, investigating the inner workings of "The Scheme," a circular delivery business in which nondescript "UniVans" go back and forth among multiple destinations, delivering largely nonessential UniVan parts. The perfectly synchronized system begins to fall apart when a labor conflict pits the corner-cutters and slackers in the company-designated "swervers"-against their more staid counterparts, the "flat-dayers," who believe in actually working a by-the-book, eight-hour day. The drama is viewed from the perspective of an anonymous narrator, a five-year veteran of the Scheme, whose life consists of playing the company angles and watching out for new authority figures. Mills makes the plot-driven concept work by underplaying his humor, so much so that the Scheme's work environment offers a genuinely frightening reflection of the circular logic that dominates so many of today's work settings. After milking the details of his odd little scenario for all they're worth, Mills introduces his climactic conflict in the form of a strike by flat-dayers while swervers continue to work. Although the ending is somewhat predictable, the author's ability to nail the nonsensical quirks and idiosyncrasies of job patterns and business models sustains the humor, and numerous passages provide chilling insight into why we go to work and what we do when we get there. With this clever allegory, Mills turns the trip to and from work into a literary joy ride. (Dec.) Forecast: Readers plagued by anxiety about the economy and frustration with corporate malfeasance will find this a timely tale. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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