Journeyman by Marc Bojanowski review

Wed, Jun 8, 2016, 11:31

   
 

Book Title:
Journeyman

ISBN-13:
978-1-78378-251-2

Author:
Marc Bojanowski

Publisher:
Granta

Guideline Price:
£12.99

Nolan Jackson is a lonesome, Gary Cooperesque drifter. He’s attractive, laconic, pragmatic but troubled. His brother Cosmo is very troubled. A journeyman carpenter, Nolan’s trouble is likely solvable by the love of a good woman whereas crazed writer Cosmo is troubled by the state of the world (aka America) and may be too far gone. The basic narrative of a man who, by default, has to spend time with his estranged brother is an appealing one. The men rub along in a beautiful Californian wine-country town. All around are signs of decay and decline: an arsonist is at large, war casualties are interred in pretty cemeteries (the boys’ father was a Vietnam vet), Hollywood moviemakers cynically exploit the town’s heritage and friendly Mexicans are deported. All is somehow askew and we’re headed for hell. There is a rich but unrefined seam of allegorical meaningfulness running through this pleasing tale but a stronger emphasis on the personal rather than on the universal might have suited these characters better.