The Award

Lydie Salvayre

translated from the French by Jane Davey
Four Walls Eight Windows 1997
A book review by Danny Yee © 2014
Picture one of those tedious corporate award ceremonies, where company big-wigs give speeches and then the medal recipients respond, with platitudes and banalities abounding. The seven speeches and responses in The Award offer rather a different take on this, with the participants speaking about their personal and workplace experiences as if there were no constraints on them, external or internal. The result is a biting satire on both working class domestic life and alienation and on corporate jargon and authoritarianism, highlighting the internalisation of narrow and dehumanising ideas by both workers and management.

As the ceremony proceeds, it becomes clear that large-scale industrial unrest is in progress elsewhere in the company, and eventually rioting workers burst into the hall itself... The slender narrative thread of The Award would not be enough to carry a longer work, but is enough of a skeleton to hold together its darkly entertaining first-person life stories.

Note: The Award was originally published in 1993 as La M├ędaille.

July 2014

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- Lydie Salvayre - The Lecture
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%T The Award
%A Salvayre, Lydie
%M French
%F Davey, Jane
%I Four Walls Eight Windows
%D 1997 [1993]
%O hardcover
%G ISBN 1568580754
%P 151pp