Tuesday, July 04, 2017

"The Long Haul, a trucker's tales of life on the road"

This is a first book by Finn Murphy, who has been a long haul moving van trucker for many years.  At a little more than 200 pages and no deep content it is a quick read, and has its moments.  At times the thought occurred that maybe Murphy or his publisher looked at the amazing success of the thoughtful but somewhat pretentious "Hillbilly Elegy" and thought why not have another educated guy write a book about the working class life who actually dedicated to doing that work.

Murphy's "The Long Haul" does not dwell on a theme but puts down the tracks to consider the perspective of that life.  He writes "I had brilliantly managed to select a career where frustration was the norm...I had been angry so long I didn't know how to feel any other way".  As an aside he notes, "they say a well-balanced Irishman is a man with a chip on both shoulders."

In fact, Murphy enjoys the trucking life yet he doesn't subscribe to what he views as the generally accepted reputation of the profession.  "I'm dispatching a  couple guys from fucking Saskatchewan and they talk like the Dukes of Hazzard.  What is that?" says one character.  He follows saying, "They're perpetuating a myth... a way of looking at the world that doesn't exist, never did exist..."

That's one aspect of the book that is interesting but is by no means brow beaten into the reader. Overall the book is primarily a look at the life of the people who drive those huge trucks on the interstates, smaller highways, towns, and anywhere that someone is moving.  It is an unusual topic that mostly works.


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