Human Wishes / Enemy Combatant

by Edmond Caldwell

Category: Communication & Journalism

  • Type: Paperback
  • Pages: 280 pages
  • ISBN: none
  • ASIN: 9780615577951
  • Edition Language: English

The novel is comical (and I think laugh-out-loud funny) in many places as it protrays the everyday angst of someone who knows he does not belong in America.

The hero has disappointments and epiphanies as he researches people who live at rest-stops, visits an installation of Joseph Cornells boxes at the Salem art museum, and finds the lost Beckett play Human Wishes under the floorboards in a Parisian tenement. You former Bostonians will recognize the locals where the hero encounters the contradictions of American consumer society.

Feeling alienated from modern consumerism while ostensibly trying to buy pants in the Watertown Arsenal Mall, the hero is reminded that the mall was formerly the factory where Frederick Winslow Talyer conducted his infamous time-and-motion studies of workers movements.

These studies were the prerequisite for de-skilling craft work, culminating in the modern assembly line. But there are also overseas settings -- Paris, St. Petersberg, Guantanamo, and Palestine. Although the chapters together tell a story overall, they can be be read sparately so skip around if you feel like it. My favorite chapter is a look back in time, depicting the heros 14 year old mother fleeing Lydda on the Lydda death march during the Palistinian Nakba of 1948.

Edmond based this section of the book on historical documents (as he did also in the time-and-motion chapter just mentioned). Let me urge you to consider buying Edmonds book from the small press which took the courageous step of publishing this experimental novel. The publisher gives his own overview of what the book is about, check it out:

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