Rosie’s #Bookreview Team #RBRT BREADLINE by Alain Dizerens

Today’s team review is from Terry, she blogs at http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/

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Terry has been reading Breadline by Alain Dizerens

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Breadline by Alain Dizerens

3 out of 5 stars

Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber’s Review Team

Hmm – a strange one! It’s not very long, probably novelette or short novella length, a memoir of the jobs taken on by the author, from experience of Vietnam, to a distributor for washing powder samples, a nightwatchman, and time on a kibbutz.

The whole presentation is quite ‘experimental’, a series of memory snapshots with little to link them together. It needs editing, for sure, and the style is eccentric, but it’s not without charm. I liked some parts, like the author’s take on pretentious art critics, while working as a caretaker at a Picasso exhibition, and of the banal attitude of the masses who passed by the works of art as if they were wallpaper or worse, and I very much liked his observation about how, when returning from Vietnam, even things like being able to switch on a light or sit in a comfortable chair felt like luxuries, but how quickly one got used to them, and began to complain about stuff that didn’t matter, again…

This books reminded me of the early days of self-publishing on Kindle, before writers were urged to make their books conform to professional standards, and to be aware of their market; I imagine that with some re-drafting, more detail and a more enticing cover this would appeal to the reader who seeks the unconventional.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Rosie’s #BookReview Team #RBRT BREADLINE by Alain Dizerens #WeekendBlogShare

Today’s team review is from Noelle, she blogs at http://saylingaway.wordpress.com

Rosie's Book Review team 1

Noelle has been reading Breadline by Alan Dizerens

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Book Review: Breadline by Alain Dizerens

It took me a while to get through this book, mostly because it is so descriptively rich that it was like eating a double chocolate fudge cake with dark chocolate icing: you can only digest a little at a time.

This is an autobiographical novel of a man trying to experience, and find his place in, the world – while trying to support himself. He is a self-proclaimed “adventurer of dreams” and his first adventure is in Vietnam during the war there. He experiences the conflict first hand, never expecting to see the next day’s dawn, until he decides he’s had enough and returns home.

He wallows in the comfort of western civilization for a few weeks, before the feeling of well-being wears off. There follows a series of experiences that leave him discouraged: a distributor of laundry powder samples to housewives, never being able to fulfill his quota; an assembler of tiny components in a sewing machine factory; a hunting guide who’s never fired a gun in Cameroon; part-time custodian at a Picasso exhibit; a night watchman who’s afraid of the dark; a volunteer in a kibbutz after the Yom Kippur War, where he works in a brush factory while reading the Torah at night – all of these jobs are described with great wit and not a little humor.

His descriptions of being a custodian at the Picasso exhibit resonated profoundly with me; as a tour guide I experienced many of the appalling and curious tourist behaviors he did, but was never as sanguine. I certainly couldn’t describe them with as much fun.

His descriptive paragraphs are vivid, if composed of one long run-on sentence:

“On miniature stuffed wicker stools in front of small bistros with a single, naked light bulb and walls painted in absinthe green of Sahara blue, unshaven men in the black and white checkered keffiyeh drink coffee in tiny dirty glasses while others, wearing turbans and wrapped in old coasts, string their sup’ah absently to the sounds of lamenting Arabic music.”

Home again in Europe, he takes a dream job (good pay, nights off, and the use of his creative skills) in a professional training center with several thousand, minority apprentice mechanics, masons, electricians, fitters, butchers, hairdressers and florists. There he teaches a bit of law, accounting, correspondence, French, civics and economics. More laughs, this time out loud.

Unfortunately, he runs into the brotherhood of ‘sworn-in methodologists,’ which make his job a nightmare. And more laughs, this time based on my own personal experience.

And then, he writes a book…

To read Breadline is a unique experience, and one I recommend everyone try. Part philosophy, part humor, part captivating prose – this book has it all. The one minor flaw was the tendency of the prose to assume a shade of purple in some spots, a little over the top. Perhaps because this book is a translation from the French?

In any event, I recommend Breadline. I know many of Rosie’s followers will enjoy it, even in small bites.

Find a copy here from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com