CBC Radio 3 Book Club pick for August 2012!
It is the summer of 1999, and the Sweltham family leads an ordinary suburban existence. Former high school volleyball champ Parker crisscrosses the continent as a sales rep for DynaFlex Sporting Goods, while his wife Trixie serves as the managing editor of Record of Truth, an unsuccessful genocide studies journal. Their son Owen has just returned from juvenile prison to the vast horrors of high school. Heath, Parker's brother, has vowed to cut down on weed and fried chicken for a regimen of self-improvement. All appears normal.
Yet in this summer's swelter and the rise of Y2K anxiety, grim truths will be revealed. Trixie is rocked by the discovery of an undiagnosable cerebral defect, rendering all previous toils trivial. Still stinging from the rebukes of his Gulf War vet ex-girlfriend, Heath obeys the Do It Dynamic! self-improvement program while crafting a screenplay that promises to dismantle the universe. Haunted by past crimes and apocalyptic fixations, Owen is led back into Robitussin binges and fantasies of self-destruction. And while peddling his wares at the annual Empowerment Expo, Parker forges an uneasy bond with Adam, a political refugee harbouring his own violent aspirations. Nothing changes, but everything has changed.
Sprawling yet scalpel-sharp, Maintenance, like some twenty-first-century White Noise, takes the suburbs to a geography you won't recognize.
About the author
Rob Benvie is the author of Maintenance and Safety of War. His work has appeared with McSweeney’s, Dazed, Vice, Joyland, The Puritan, CNQ, The Best Canadian Essays anthology series, and been produced widely for film, music, and television. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, he now lives in Toronto.