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Work Like Any Other
Work Like Any Other: A Novel | Virginia Reeves
In this astonishingly accomplished, morally complicated, exceptional and starkly beautiful debut (Kevin Powers, National Book Awardnominated author of The Yellow Birds), a prideful electrician in 1920s rural Alabama struggles to overcome past sins and find peace after being sent to prison for manslaughter.Roscoe T Martin set his sights on a new type of power spreading at the start of the twentieth century: electricity. It became his training, his lifes work. But when his wife, Marie, inherits her fathers failing farm, Roscoe has to give up his livelihood, with great cost to his sense of self, his marriage, and his family. Realizing he might lose them all if he doesnt do something, he begins to use his skills as an electrician to siphon energy from the state, ushering in a period of bounty and happiness. Even the love of Marie and their child seem back within Roscoes grasp. Then a young man working for the state power company stumbles on Roscoes illegal lines and is electrocuted, and everything changes: Roscoe is arrested; the farm once more starts to deteriorate; and Marie abandons her husband, leaving him to face his twenty-year sentence alone. Now an unmoored Roscoe must carve out a place at Kilby Prison. Climbing the ranks of the incarcerated from dairy hand to librarian to dog boy, an inmate who helps the guards track down escapees, he is ultimately forced to ask himself once more if his work is just that, or if the price of his crimesfor him and his familyis greater than he ever let himself believe. Gorgeously spare and brilliantly insightful, Work Like Any Other is a striking debut about love and redemption, the heavy burdens of family and guilt, and learning how to escape themVirginia Reeves is a major new talent (Philipp Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of The Son).
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review
ErickaS_Flyleafunfurled
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Mehso-so

So-so
You get almost the whole book from the blurb.
The first 75% was like a middle-grade Shawshank Redemption.
The last 25% was full of unrelenting, unredemptive despair.
My favorite character was the dog. 😕

Texreader Now there‘s an honest review. Thanks! 3mo
batsy Great review! I've unstacked this for the moment 😁 3mo
46 likes3 comments
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Lcsmcat
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Pickpick

The premise sounds like it could be either sappy or depressing. It is neither. Though there is no character that I would want to invite to dinner (except maybe Maggie) they were complex, interesting people dealing with complicated relationships.

Cathythoughts Nice review! I see I have it stacked. Must move it up the line ♥️👍🏻 6mo
Lcsmcat @Cathythoughts Thanks. I hope you enjoy it! 6mo
43 likes2 comments
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Lcsmcat
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My current #audiobook. Anyone else read this? I think it‘s a #blameitonlitsy, but I can‘t remember who posted it.

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Tamra
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Pickpick

@BarbaraBB I enjoyed this novel! I appreciated how the characters & situation are morally ambiguous and no sappy ending. 👏🏾 😆 My favorite is Maggie. 🐶

Tamra Honestly though, I am still skeptical about Wilson‘s welcome home attitude. That‘s a lot to forgive & forget. (edited) 10mo
BarbaraBB I loved that it was not cheesy at all. Happy you liked it! You read it fast!!! 10mo
Tamra @BarbaraBB I did the audio - I didn‘t really like the narrator‘s voice but the story kept me going! 😊 10mo
85 likes3 comments
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Tamra
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“A heap of books is the only foundation a man needs.”

Truth👌🏾

TrishB Absolutely. 10mo
Suet624 Then I‘m pretty solid. 10mo
Tanisha_A Yay! 10mo
BarbaraBB Yay, my book 😉 10mo
80 likes1 stack add4 comments
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Reviewsbylola
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Pickpick

I‘ve had this on my TBR since it was long-listed for the Man Booker in 2016. So it‘s possible I‘ll get to the 2018 noms by 2020. 😆😆

It is a thoughtful look into the choices we make, the ramifications they have, and how they affect our relationships. And how even the most intricate relationships can unravel instantly. Very well done.

BarbaraBB It‘s better than most of this year‘s nominated books so don‘t hurry 😀😬 14mo
Reviewsbylola The only one from this year on my TBR is The Mars Room. 😂😂 @BarbaraBB 14mo
BarbaraBB @Reviewsbylola That‘s such a predictable book, not worth your time imo, although the judges disagree with me 😂😘 14mo
Cinfhen I‘ve almost added this book a dozen different times on #BookOutlet but it looks soooooo damn depressing 13mo
Reviewsbylola Uh yeah, that‘s an understatement lol. @Cinfhen 13mo
102 likes1 stack add5 comments
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Reviewsbylola
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Couldn‘t have said it better myself.

Alwaysbeenaloverofbooks Love!! 📚📚📚❤️❤️❤️ 14mo
BarbaraBB Love this book! 14mo
110 likes2 comments
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BarbaraBB
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#5towatch

Great idea @Cinfhen to promote some debut authors! I‘d like to read more by these five:

- Virginia Reeves
- Fiona Mozley
- Nathan Hill
- Yaa Gyasi
- Brit Bennett

About the tagged one: this book is fantastic, it deserves more Litsy love!

BookAlongBlog I really enjoyed The Mothers. I haven't read any of the others. But Homegoing is on my tbr pile. 2y
Cinfhen #stacked sounds fantastic!!! Thanks for sharing your list‼️I'm familiar with the others but only read 2, the others are on my TBR #SoManyBooksSoLittleTime 2y
Cinfhen Just bought it!!! 2y
BarbaraBB @Cinfhen Yay! I‘m sure you won‘t regret it! 2y
Cinfhen I‘m excited to try it! Thanks for the suggestion 💜 2y
41 likes5 comments
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intothehallofbooks
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Pickpick

LOVED. I've been trying to find words for this book since I finished it yesterday. I could talk for days. There's a raw vulnerability to Roscoe's story that this author just nailed. She also nailed the South at some of its worst and best.

Roscoe did a wrong thing and he had to serve his time. But there is so much to this character aside from being a convict. I understand why he did it. And I understand him on the other side. Beautiful work, this.

Lindy I enjoyed this one too. 😊 2y
8leagueboot This one hadn't crossed my radar, but it looks so gripping. Added! 2y
73 likes5 stack adds2 comments
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intothehallofbooks
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"This is Kilby Prison. We exercise in a dusty yard. Around it, a high wall is strung with wire, and in that wire is electricity..."

THIS BOOK IS SO GOOD.

shawnmooney I've been hearing as much for a long while! Must get to this❗️ 2y
ReadingEnvy I liked this one! Small lives written well have a great appeal to me. 2y
intothehallofbooks @shawnmooney Yes! If you can get to this one, it is brilliant. It's a quiet novel that is excellent when read slowly - if you like reading books like that. I feel like it will be in my top three that I've read in 2017 at the end of this year. 2y
intothehallofbooks @ReadingEnvy "Small lives written well" - I love that! I think this one qualifies wonderfully. 2y
57 likes3 stack adds4 comments
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BarbaraBB
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Pickpick

This is the very sad story of Roscoe Martin who ends up in jail after a man is electrocuted partly by his responsibility.
Roscoe's time in jail, his dignity, his dreams and frustrations are being told so well, without being too sentimental, it really touched me.
The way the story is build up, the chapters and the storyline: all these aspects make this a really special read, which I won't easily forget. #booker #manbooker

2 likes1 stack add
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Misanthropester
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"The State will have their chair." The casual cruelty of the death penalty & how it was ingrained in Southern culture

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Misanthropester
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Southern literature is typically garbage but this is reading well & compelling in its earnestness

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Misanthropester
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Today's #bookmail

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MrBook
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#TBRtemptation post! Wow! What an interesting premise, which may be why it's been nominated for awards. Roscoe sees the importance of electricity in the future & immerses himself for a career in it. Then his wife inherits her father's farm & he changes course. But not before tapping into the grid unconventionally. A State inspector finds what he's done & dies by electrocution. Now in prison, he uses his wit. Intriguing! #blameLitsy #blameMrBook 😎

Lindy It's a tender and moving debut. I liked it a lot. 3y
Reviewsbylola I've had my eye on this one but I haven't seen many review for it. 3y
Zelma Wow, that sounds really interesting! 3y
LitsyGoesPostal 😊👍🏻 3y
84 likes6 stack adds4 comments
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Lindy
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Pickpick

Debut novel about guilt and redemption. 1920s rural Alabama. Poverty. Prison. Character-based. Shifting narrative. Vivid. Elegant. Tender.

40 likes3 stack adds
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Lindy
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I didn't realize when I started listening to this that I would have concurrent books about family men in jail. Work Like Any Other is set in the 1920s and is mostly from his point of view. The Best Kind of People is contemporary and (so far) only shows things from the point of view of his wife, daughter and son. Both are good!

mauveandrosysky I really liked this one! 3y
31 likes1 comment
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manbookerprize
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Here‘s what our Man Booker Prize 2016 judges have to say about Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves…

‘Work Like Any Other is one of the most exciting debut novels of 2016.‘

Will it make the shortlist?

#ManBooker2016 #FinestFiction

45 likes6 stack adds
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manbookerprize

Here‘s what our Man Booker Prize 2016 judges have to say about Work Like Any Other by Virginia Reeves…

‘Work Like Any Other is one of the most exciting debut novels of 2016.‘

Will it make the shortlist?

#ManBooker2016 #FinestFiction

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NHLibrarian
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Pickpick

I started out thinking Roscoe was a hard man to like: single minded and cold; and feeling sorry for his wife. But by the end of the book, I felt sorry for Roscoe and thought Marie was the cold hearted one. Interesting premise and well told.

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NHLibrarian
Pickpick

I started out thinking Roscoe was a hard man to like: single minded and cold; and feeling sorry for his wife. But by the end of the book, I felt sorry for Roscoe and thought Marie was the cold hearted one. Interesting premise and well told.

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BookBerries
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Pickpick

A most goddamn wonderful book
#ManBooker2016 #finestfiction

SusanInTiburon Nice picture! 3y
39 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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BookBerries
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Starting ManBooker number 5!
👯📚📖

BookMusings Which is your fave so far? 3y
BookBerries @BookMusings Hot Milk/Eileen/Lucy Barton ❤️ 3y
ns510reads Oh yay! Looking forward to this one, hoping for amazing things 💙 3y
35 likes1 stack add3 comments
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NHLibrarian
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Roscoe just has a very straightforward way of looking at the world. 😆

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JenP
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Pickpick

Our shadow panel man Booker reviews are up on the blog. Check out how we rated it and where it ranks on our Longlist:

https://thereadersroom.org/2016/08/24/2016-man-booker-work-like-any-other-by-vir...

mauveandrosysky Yay! I loved this one and am so glad to see that you guys did, too. I agree that it reminded me of Stoner, and that it was a deceptively simple novel that actually had a ton of emotional depth. One of my favorites so far. 3y
JenP I'm so glad you liked it too! It is a great book. I'm rooting for it to make the shortlist 3y
6 likes2 comments
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NHLibrarian
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Really enjoying this, can't believe it's her first novel.

21 likes1 stack add
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Simona
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Mehso-so

Story is told by a husband and wife in two time lines and everything revolves around electricity. In the story, the writer touches several themes (rural life, social stratification, court rulings, punishment, racial issues, illiteracy, prison, the death penalty, moral dilemmas...)which are only implied and they remain unaccomplished. The main theme is interesting, the story is easy to follow, transitions between past and present are clear, but ...

Simona ...what bothers me is extremely unconvincing conclusion of the story. It's a fine book, nothing exceptional about. Not my candidate for the shortlist. 3y
RebeccaH Yep, good review! 3y
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mauveandrosysky I'm the only one who loved this one haha 3y
Simona @mauveandrosysky If I compare it with the rest of the books that I've read so far from longlist, I'm not sure about this one. Too optimistic endings just don't work for me. 3y
Simona @RebeccaH Thanks. 3y
mauveandrosysky I'm not a fan of happy endings that feel undeserved. But this book was so bleak and sad that I was glad she left us with a glimmer of hope. It felt earned to me, and not sentimental. 3y
Simona @mauveandrosysky I understand your point of view and I agree with you that the end is not sentimental because of the writing style. I can deal with the ray of hope but things are arrange to neatly. 3y
39 likes9 comments
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RebeccaH
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Mehso-so

I did not feel the magic of this book.

Redheadrambles Oh no !! I had medium high hopes for this one. 3y
RebeccaH Other people have liked it much more than I did. But I never bought into the world and found the characters implausible. You may feel differently! @Redheadrambles 3y
Reviewsbylola This is one of the few on the Booker shortlist I actually want to read! 3y
See All 6 Comments
Stephtck I'm part way through and not feeling it, it's about to expire from my library account and I'm considering not renewing... 3y
RebeccaH I might possibly have bailed if I weren't reading the Booker long list. @Stephtck 3y
Stephtck I want to read some of them but @BookMusings and I have a reading challenge going, the list is long and she's way ahead of me! 3y
19 likes6 comments
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RebeccaH
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Up next, Booker long list #7 (not starting out very well, tbh).

mauveandrosysky It started slow for me too, but I liked where it went. 3y
RebeccaH Good to know @mauveandrosysky ! I'll hang in there. 3y
29 likes1 stack add2 comments
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RebeccaH

Up next, Booker long list #7.

blurb
RebeccaH

Up next, Booker long list #7.

blurb
RebeccaH

Up next, Booker long list #7.

blurb
RebeccaH

Up next, Booker long list #7.

blurb
RebeccaH

Up next, Booker long list #7.

blurb
RebeccaH

Up next, Booker long list #7.

blurb
RebeccaH

Up next, Booker long list #7.

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Simona
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I'm done with the first book. Is it cheating if I start with the next today?
#bookisholympics #rioolympics #day1

TheSpinecrackersBookClub Happiness!!! 🎉 no you can read as much as you like per day. 3y
tricours I'm like 70% done with my 2nd book today 🤓 3y
Simona @tricours Wow, running for gold? 😃 3y
See All 6 Comments
tricours Definitely! 3y
32 likes6 comments
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Simona
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It's 7.00am and it's time for #bookisholympics #day1 with @TheSpinecrackersBookClub
This book is also for my personal goal #TheManBookerPrize longlist.
Happy reading to everyone 😘

TheSpinecrackersBookClub Good luck 🎉. Let us know how this was. I also like reading books from the list. 3y
42 likes1 stack add2 comments
review
mauveandrosysky
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Pickpick

What defines a man? Is it his vocation? The worst thing he's ever done? His guilt? His redemption? These are the questions at the heart of this somber, poignant, understated story. Throughout, Reeves confronts us with a sense of life's futility and unfairness, but she doesn't strand us there in the darkness. Instead, she offers a glimmer of hard-earned hope. Very impressed with this beautiful, heart-breaking debut novel. #ManBooker2016

JenP I really liked this one too! 3y
37 likes5 stack adds1 comment
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mauveandrosysky
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This book is slow going so far. And Luna keeps distracting me with her cuteness! 😻 (I think she had just spotted a moth when I took this picture 👀)

coffeenebula Cutie! 3y
CherylDeFranceschi ❤️😻! 3y
katelizabee Aw, what a darling cat! 3y
LeahBergen What pretty kitty eyes! 3y
Tanzy13 🐱 3y
40 likes5 comments
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ReadingEnvy
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One from the Man Booker Long list with jailed electricians and prison librarians.

33 likes7 stack adds
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ShelfSpaceLimited
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Mehso-so

I love reading historical fiction, and although the narrative of this was decent, I found it lacking in the historical perspective I anticipated. However, I did enjoy the switch between perspective of characters and past and present.

Josie Do you have a favorite historical fiction?? I've been looking around but haven't found anything yet! 3y
ShelfSpaceLimited @Josie The first one that comes to mind is The Museum of Extraordinary Things, I also read Orphan Number 8, which was a bit faster paced and much creepier. The Girl Who Came Home was pretty good as well, but if you've seen the movie Titanic, it may leave you disappointed. 3y
ShelfSpaceLimited @Josie Let me know if you find something that draws you in, always on the lookout for new ones! 😉 3y
See All 10 Comments
ShelfSpaceLimited @Josie The Paying Guests is on my TBR pile too, ok I'm done now 😁 3y
EliseWhitmore @Josie @ShelfSpaceLimited Paying Guests is a good read, but the year doesn't have much to do w/ the storyline. Not in the same way the Outlander books are about the time period. But I too love me some historical fiction, so thanks for the recommendations 😊 3y
Josie @ShelfSpaceLimited I love the museum of extraordinary things! Read that one last summer. I'm going to check out Orphan Number Eight, though!!! Thank you! I'll definitely let you know if I find something good :) 3y
ShelfSpaceLimited @EliseWhitmore My friend got me a copy of Outlander and has been dying for me to read it, thanks for reminding me to move it up the TBR!! 3y
EliseWhitmore @ShelfSpaceLimited I wasn't sure about the time-travel aspect of Outlander, but they are so well written. I hope you love it ❣ 3y
JenP That's too bad. I'm halfway through it and loving it. I don't really consider it historical fiction even though I know that's how it has been marketed and classified. I see it more as a book about family relationships and redemption. I do think if you go into it thinking it will be a great historical fiction read, it will be a disappointment 3y
ShelfSpaceLimited @JenP Really glad you're enjoying it. I agree the dynamics of relationships are well written. 3y
28 likes10 comments