WORLDS OF WORK IN THE NOVEL
The “working-class” novel is hard to come by, but from the beginning of the first industrial revolution, a few writers have ventured to portray the experience of labor. However, those early writers had limited knowledge of the actual daily life of a laborer. One exception is Charles Dickens. He was able to draw on his experience working in a blacking factory as a young person and used this material in one of the first English novels to portray work, where it goes on, what it involves, and who does it. Elizabeth Gaskell was another such writer, although she did not have the personal experience of Dickens, she brought an awareness of the impact of factory work on women. More recently, several writers have produced fiction centered on their working-class beginnings and have attracted considerable interest, even the Nobel prize.
September 14 Charles Dickens Hard Times
October 12 Annie Ernaux A Girl’s Story
November 9 Mieko Kawakami All The Lovers in The Night
December 14 Jennifer Haigh Mercy Street
The KML book discussion group meets online monthly at 4:30 four Thursdays in the Fall. It is free and open to the public through registration at the library. Please let the staff know whether you will need hard copies of the books. The discussion is led by Betty Krasne, PhD.