We All Fall Down
We All Fall Down
We All Fall Down is a vivid and compelling narrative of middle class friends and families, relationships and the contemporary workplace. Kate and Hugh Drysdale, like many couples, buy a house that stretches them to the limits financially. Hugh looks at the soaring property market, the fact he’s earning a good salary, and all the signs of a booming economy and believes everything will be fine. And it is, until the advertising company he works for hits a rough patch: two major pieces of business walk out of the door, and a new creative director from the UK is brought in. Set in Sydney when world economic instability is beginning to bite, this is very much a book of our time. Peopled with unforgettable characters, it is a disturbing, but affecting portrait of family, the workplace, and the costs of playing, or not playing, the game. In We All Fall Down Peter Barry brings his witty, razor-sharp vision to human nature, life in suburbia and the moral dilemmas that face us all.
by Peter Salcom
In 2011, Peter Barry produced one of the most astonishing literary debuts I have read in a long time – I Hate Martin Amis et al. If you haven’t read it, do. It’s an everyday story of a man who channels his frustration at not getting his novels published into finding a new career as a sniper in Sarajevo, as you do. Barry takes this unlikely literary conceit and produces a work that is mordantly funny, utterly tragic, and deeply disturbing.
His second novel We All Fall Down is more conventional, but also takes the reader into a world that is disturbing and tragic, though not without humour. We follow Hugh Drysdale, advertising executive, as his company hits a bad patch and begins shedding staff. Trapped in a financial web of his own making, and an increasingly dysfunctional marriage, our ‘hero’ watches his carefully wrought world fall to pieces before his eyes.
As with I Hate Martin Amis et al, Barry lets the logic of events unfold without flinching – it is vital but uncomfortable reading, as Hugh Drysdale’s struggles strike a chord with all of us in these times of financial and emotional uncertainty. Barry is as unsparing in his prose as he is with his plot – there are no wasted words, no wasted emotions. Barry displays consummate skill in allowing us to empathise with his protagonist without ever sentimentalising him. This is another dazzling novel from a great new talent, and another tribute to the wonderful work being done by the publisher Transit Lounge.
Peter Salmon is the author of *The Coffee Story*
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