the scheme for full employment
by Magnus Mills
Highly recommended for people who love watching the social dynamics of the British workforce. This book was a Birthday pressie!
4 smiles: Ratings explained
What is the book about?
A story of gradual social change within a nationalised industry featuring, tea, cakes, chat, meetings and canteens. We watch the gradual decline of a national treasure – the scheme for full employment – through the eyes of an unnamed employee. Reminiscent of the decline of the national mining industry, national car industry, and the NHS.
The reader gradually learns how the scheme works through the daily experiences of one employees. We meet his colleagues, supervisers, and learn about what employees should do and what they acutally do. The manner of storytelling reminded me of Kafka’s ‘The Trial’, as the protagonist appears to accept and observe all that goes on around him. The short sentences, descriptive focus, economy with works, make the book very easy to read. I wish I could write that beautifully.
Unlike the majority of modern novels this one focuses solely on work contexts. The action, and sometimes inaction, all happens on work time, in work venues. There is only one female character named and present in this workplace. The scheme is currently, predominantly, a boys world of work.
Is the book boring?
Unlike Kafka, the story is full of situational humour that Mills gradually reveals like clues in a detective novel. Other reviewers describe the humour as ‘Deadpan humour’. For me the funniest part is what the scheme for full employment does, how it delivers value above and beyond full employment. Many of the reviews I read actually gave this away rather than allowing the reader to discover it within the book. I am glad that I didn’t read any reviews before reading the book.