Saturday 3 February 2018
KEVIN BERG - INDIFFERENCE (2016)
Some scenes may be inappropriate for some readers. Please do not buy this if you are easily offended.
Nobody gives a shit anymore.
We are all selfish, greedy, impatient, uncaring, and ruthless - but maybe we can take a moment for a story.
With modern technology and the ease of interaction, we have become more confident and less concerned with anyone or anything that does not directly impact us. We have also become cruel. Desensitized to sex, violence, and death as a result, and stepping over any bodies that fall in our paths on the way to the end of another boring day.
An old man tries to find a reason to keep going. A cocky insurance adjuster looks to deny you everything, including your dignity. An IT rep does what he can to impress a dissatisfied mother. A morose fast food employee has to decide if she wants a promotion or a quick exit. A shady secretary uses the only assets she has to win the support of her boss, a dying fiancé, and the family she left at home. A lone nurse tries to provide help in a medical environment devoid of any care. A single mother learns too late that her children are her life.
Everyone for themselves. Everyone worthless.
Equal in death.
Powerful, brutal, dark, angry and thought-provoking. Berg serves up an unsettling collection of short stories with over-lapping and repeating characters. The whole range of human emotions is on display, with the notable exception of happiness, joy, satisfaction and love.
Through the eyes of a homeless veteran, we observe society's selfishness on a daily basis.....ignored or abused, always worthless, sometimes invisible, very rarely treated with kindness.
Later we spend time with him in hospital. A repeat scenario - his treatment - callous, disrespectful, cruel, shameless with the exception of one angel. Educated people in a job as care-givers indifferent to the suffering of a fellow human, an inconvenience. Arrogance and superiority complexes prevail. Concern in limited supply, but heart-breaking in its solitary appearance.
A few other topics explored........a sex worker debasing herself daily in chat rooms, to please her husband and to put food on the table. Her story progresses - a life in the US, but no measurable improvement to her circumstances, with an abusive boss in the workplace and a home life based on an imaginary financial reward. Her treatment of others on her workplace journey, mirrors her own suffering, but she's oblivious to the incongruity of it all.
...... a bullying manager of a fast food restaurant, intolerant of our veteran. Needy, insecure and lonely himself, but lacking in awareness and a moral compass regarding the boundaries needed between himself and his young employee. He cracks - big time and the consequences are brutal, graphic and just a little bit unnecessary from this reader's standpoint.
Other stories, other bullies and abusers, victims and sufferers encountered.
We end with our veteran as a last act of service, making further sacrifice and at the same time teaching a life lesson to our self-absorbed single mother.
Lots here to not necessarily like or enjoy, but to ponder and reflect upon. Present day society under a microscope and it's not pretty.
4.5 from 5
This novel-cum-story collection is Kevin Berg's debut.
His second book is Daddy Monster.
Facebook author page is here.
Read in January, 2018
Published - 2016
Page count - 308
Source - Kindle Unlimited
Format - Kindle