Tag Archives: unemployment

Brooklyn Roads

Sunset Park: A Novel by Paul Auster (A Frances Coady Book/Henry Holt and Company; $25.00; 320 pages)

It is the policy of Joseph’s Reviews to consider each work as to its own merit.   This latest novel by famed Brooklyn, NY writer Paul Auster is the first of his works read by this reviewer which makes it easy to adhere to the policy.   The book has served to pique my curiosity about Auster’s previous novels.   I hope they, too, have the quietness and narrow focus that he grants each of his characters in Sunset Park.

There is aloneness, almost an alienation that Auster’s characters Miles, Bing, Alice and Ellen have in common.   They are approaching midlife without the confidence and skills necessary to carry them into the next segment of their lives.   Each has strongly felt needs that serve to nudge them into the world each day away from the city-owned house in a seedy part of Brooklyn where they have become squatters because all of them are painfully short on funds.   These needs are coupled with real world time-sensitive matters that cannot be ignored.  

Miles’ girlfriend in Florida, Pilar, is a ticking time bomb through no fault of her own (she’s underage).   He is both drawn by and afraid of his need for her.   Alice is closing in on the final chapters of her doctoral dissertation, Ellen knows that her job is in peril if she cannot stay focused and Bing fears his own proclivities.

The housemates are aware that any day Brooklyn city police will serve them with an eviction notice.   Even though there is a sense of passing time and looming eventualities, the pace of the novel allows the reader to observe each character and appreciate how life has handed them challenges that will either serve as lessons or bring them disastrous outcomes.   Of the four, only Miles has a safety net in the form of famous parents and step-parents.   He has a painful secret that he has kept and danced around for over seven years.   This secret has drawn him away from his parents and into hiding.

Auster tells just enough of a tale to capture the reader’s attention.   He leaves out enough to allow the reader space to consider the reality that each of us has issues in life and they can be vastly different.

Highly recommended.

This review was written by Ruta Arellano.   A review copy was provided by the publisher.   Sunset Park will be released on Tuesday, November 9, 2010.

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Action Gets It Going

Over the Gap by Dave Patterson

There are situations in our lives when we must take action in times of the greatest possible stress.   For example, if a parent or loved one close to you dies, you may be asked to assist in making funeral arrangements.   This is precisely the time when you will feel the least capable of making some sound and rapid decisions, but you will nevertheless need to act.   Action in itself helps us to feel better and to regain our confidence – “Action gets it going!”

If you’re a person who has been recently displaced in your workplace cutbacks or downsized out of a job, Dave Patterson’s Over the Gap provides a roadmap of the steps you must take in order to secure another job in the least amount of time.   It may not be a pleasant subject (notice how much effort is taken to avoid the word “fired”) but Patterson’s 121-page guide will assist you in concentrating on the work you will need to do to find new work.

Patterson’s book focuses on what he calls the CORE Process – Circumstance, Opportunities, Resources, End Result – which is based on common sense and doing one’s necessary homework.   Patterson explains the values of networking and of being prepared; fully prepared, not just taking halfway measures.   As an example of the latter, he provides a very good listing of the most asked interview questions.   But having the questions is just half the battle, will you be prepared to answer them before (and not just during) a job interview?   (Hint:  You should not only be prepared to answer the questions, but to do so in two minutes or less.   Rambling responses show weakness, uncertainty and a definite lack of preparedness.   “When responding to interview questions, give answers that are directly to the point.”)

Patterson also offers spread sheets, graphs and other tools to help you get re-organized.   If you use the tools he provides in Over the Gap, you will be forcibly organized which is much better than the alternative.   This is a sober-minded guide that, for the price ($19.95) of less than a twenty dollar bill may help you to re-start your professional life sooner rather than later.   I did see that one reviewer mentioned that this guide is for “mid-level executives,” which is a point that I will respectfully disagree with.   I think that anyone who has suddenly lost their job will find this “advanced career change, planning and outplacement handbook” to be invaluable.

Recommended.

A review copy was provided by the author.

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Coming Up Next…

A review of Over the Gap by Dave Patterson.

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