When most of us make a pit stop at the local service station for a few gallons of gas, some cigarettes, or an oil change, if we’re feeling a little curious, we might stop to consider the often grizzled-seeming souls toiling behind the counter or at the pumps. What choices, either wildly spontaneous or premeditated, led them to their current career? Can we imagine their lives outside of work as distinct and complex entities and not just the bored bodies in unflattering corporate-logo jumpsuits with which we’re so familiar? Are they happy? Ryan W. Bradley can provide these answers, and then some. His autobiographical debut novel, Code for Failure, presents a searing portrait of life at the bottom rung of the fuel industry that performs the rare feat of being psychologically intricate, hilariously scatological, and emotionally memorable, often in the same paragraph. It’s a study of the rarest of dichotomies – darkly macho fiction with a heart that builds to unbearable, and maybe more.
March 16th, 2012 / 1:00 pm