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Roadwork by Stephen King
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Roadwork (original 1981; edition 1999)

by Stephen King

Series: Bachman Books (3)

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1,506198,557 (3.32)41
Bart Dawes is standing in the way of progress. A new highway extension is being built right over the laundry plant where he works; and right over his home. The house he has lived in for twenty years... where he has made love with his wife... played with his son... But before the city paves over that part of Dawes' life, he's got one more party to throw; and it'll be a blast...… (more)
Member:leezeebee
Title:Roadwork
Authors:Stephen King
Info:Signet, Paperback, 307 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:**
Tags:fiction

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Roadwork by Stephen King (1981)

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» See also 41 mentions

English (17)  French (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (19)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I never read this Stephen King novel before, and I wish I had. I’d been mixing this novel King wrote and another one up, and thought I had read it, way back in the 80’s. Well I hadn’t, and once I’d realize this, I jumped at the chance to make this situation better.
It’s not a bad novel, for something a bit dated, here and there but it reflected a time when American white males thought like this, and talked like that. It was cringe-worthy, but this character is quintessential King.
Bart Dawes wasn’t a bad human being, he just needed some help. And at this time, I’m not sure he would have gotten the kind of help he needed, had he actually gone and tried to get it. I enjoyed his company during this novel, even though he had some rather racist views occasionally, and had some mental issues (like quite a few of King’s characters). Bart’s like..... that old uncle who occasionally says the worst thing, but only when he’s been drinking a bunch on holidays. Every other day, Uncle Bart is a kind, caring, hard working, wonderful human being. It’s so strange, and yet so amazing that King can make such people seem good AND a bit bad; and yet so fricken real, you kind of hate to see them leave you.... and that’s Kong’s magic.
Finding a little gem of a novel like this one that’s brand new to you, is like seeing an old friend whom you adore, after a long period of time away. A great friend, who tells you wonderful stories about people he’s met and spoken with at length, on the road. And you’re just so dang-blasted happy to see them again...! It’s better than anything else in the world. And Stephen King’s novels feeling like this, to me. An old friend, whom you’re more than happy to spend a few days with, jawing and having a few beers with. 😍
I don’t know why I was expecting a short story, but this novel isn’t. It’s complete in every way.
G. Valmont Thomas is the narrator of the audiobook, and kudos to Blackstone Audio for hiring him for this job. He was *perfect* for the role of Bart Dawes.

4 stars, and recommended to those who love Stephen King, don’t mind there is no H.E.A., and feel like having a blast. (Yeah, I like my puns intended). ( )
  stephanie_M | Apr 30, 2020 |
Stephen King hat wohl mal behauptet, dass „Sprengstoff“ nicht zu seinen guten Büchern gehören würde. Dem kann ich so nicht ganz zustimmen. Für mich war die Geschichte extrem fesselnd und an Stellen von so einer Traurigkeit und Hoffnungslosigkeit durchzogen, dass es mir fast das Herz brach. Dabei nimmt King Bachman den Leser mit auf eine Reise in die Psyche eines Mannes, der nach einem traumatischen Erlebnis (der Tod seines Sohnes Charlie) auf einen Abgrund zusteuert, dem er, und das weiß man relativ schnell, nicht ausweichen kann. Man steht hilflos neben Dawes, der mit der Irrationalität seines Handelns und der Extreme seiner Gedanken in manchen Momenten einfach nur beängstigend ist. Man reiht sich ein in die Riege seiner Mitmenschen, die genauso hilflos und ratlos daneben stehen. Die nicht zu ihm durchdringen können und irgendwann aus reinem Selbstschutz den Rückzug antreten. Wer mit psychisch kranken Menschen im engeren Umfeld mal zu tun hatte, weiß, welcher Spagat das ist und welche Auswirkungen es auf einen selbst hat. Dabei kann man es besonders Dawes‘ Frau Mary nicht vorwerfen, dass sie irgendwann geht. Wenn man dabei noch die Zeit betrachtet, in der das Buch handelt (1973), als die Rolle der Frau sich zwar gerade im Umbruch befand aber dieser Umbruch gerade für verheiratete Frauen Ende 30 nicht so leicht war, dann bekommt alles eine stärkere Bedeutung. Sicherlich stellt Dawes dabei seine Frau als jemanden hin, der unecht und unehrlich nur so dahin driftet. Aber seine Sicht auf die Dinge ist extrem verzerrt und Mary sagt in einem Gespräch auch etwas, das besonders mich als Frau angesprochen hat, nämlich dass sie damals, als sie schwanger wurde, sich für die Vernunft entschieden hatte und dabei sich selbst zurückgestellt hat Das ist etwas, das mich an King fasziniert. Er schreibt Figuren, die einfach echt sind, auch wenn man ihre Handlungen teilweise kopfschüttelnd beobachtet und nicht nachvollziehen kann. Trotzdem wirken seine Figuren wie echte Menschen und das bringt seinen Büchern meiner Meinung nach immer ein gewisses Gewicht bei. Dawes‘ Abstieg ist endgültig. Man weiß, dass es kein Happy End geben wird und auch nicht geben kann. Die Menschen um ihn herum dringen nicht zu ihm durch und auf mich wirkt er wie jemand, der schon lange den Entschluss gefasst hat, dass es aus ist. Der Verlust seiner Arbeit (selbst verantwortet im übrigen) und der bevorstehende Abriss seines Hauses sind nur weitere Katalysatoren. Ich denke, die Entscheidung ist schon gefallen, als Charlie starb und Dawes und Mary unterschiedliche Wege gingen, um mit diesem Verlust fertig zu werden. Nicht über ihren Sohn zu reden hatten aber beide gemein. Das Ganze kombiniert damit, dass er 40 ist, die besten Jahre seines Lebens hinter sich hat (meint er), die Welt sich um ihn in einem Tempo weiterbewegt, mit dem er nicht mehr Schritt halten kann und die natürliche Angst des Menschen vor Veränderung, sind nur weitere Tropfen ins Fass, das eh schon kurz vorm Überlaufen ist.

Fazit
Ein starkes Buch, das den Leser mitnimmt und trotzdem nur beobachten lässt. Das es dem Leser ermöglicht, emotional investiert zu sein oder auch nur kopfschüttelnd daneben zu stehen. Dass King meint, es sei nicht sein bestes Werk, schön und gut. Ich persönlich fand es gut. Hätte ich es als Teenager gelesen, hätte es mir wahrscheinlich nicht gefallen. Aber jetzt, da ich selbst in Dawes‘ Alter bin und das Leben mir genau wie ihm bestimmte Steine in den Weg geworfen hat, sehe ich das Buch wohl mit anderen Augen als ich es früher hätte sehen können. ( )
  Powerschnute | Mar 21, 2019 |
Very thought provoking. Knowing now that King wrote it after his mother's death makes sense. I think you need to be a little older to appreciate the helplessness that the main character had. This book will stick with me for some time I think. ( )
  Fearshop | Mar 31, 2018 |
Every time I look at my list of Stephen King books I want to read, I whittle it down a little more and a little more. This one survived the stack, but I wish it didn't. Maybe because I liked the theme of it, like Rage and The Long Walk. Written around the same time too, and published under the Bachman pseudonym. Like Rage, there is nothing supernatural and it's about a guy getting his revenge Charles Bronson style. Or at least it was supposed to be.

From the beginning there is a promise that this is going to end in tremendous violence. In a one-man standoff against the government, standing up for what he believes in. The little guy who won't be pushed off his land, who won't be evicted from his memories in the face of progress. But it takes WAY too long to get there. And then it's only fifteen pages at the end. The part you came to see is buried under overwritten prose, Maine catechisms, and wool-gathering. The book is more about the main character toodling around while he doesn't make plans to evacuate his place of work and home in lieu of a new freeway they are building. Not to mention the content is outdated now (the energy crisis, making a big deal of buying a TV, laundry facilities).

The tension is so strung out by the end the climax sags like a Las Vegas showgirl's chest. The main character doesn't do anything but gripe and drink -- two Stephen King staples -- letting the time until 90,000 words are written expire. His wife leaves him, his friends abandon him. It brings up interesting issues, but I can recall at least two Star Trek episodes that dealt with this exact issue in a much more entertaining way. ( )
  theWallflower | Sep 12, 2016 |
Have this in Dutch. Must change edition
  Marlene-NL | Mar 12, 2016 |
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King, Stephenprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hofsö, JimmyTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Are you going to tell me I hurt the corporation? I don't think even you are capable of such a lie. After a corporation gets to a certain size, nothing can hurt it. It gets to be an act of God. When things are good it makes a huge profit, and when times are bad it just makes a profit, and when things go to hell it takes a tax deduction.
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Bart Dawes is standing in the way of progress. A new highway extension is being built right over the laundry plant where he works; and right over his home. The house he has lived in for twenty years... where he has made love with his wife... played with his son... But before the city paves over that part of Dawes' life, he's got one more party to throw; and it'll be a blast...

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