Wednesday, 20 August 2014
Book review of the short story ‘Killer Salesman’ By R. A. Johns An office supplies sales man, Mr Needham, travels the breadth of England trying to reach his monthly target pretty unsuccessfully. He is an a vague man, married just three years, working a routing route and to begin with you suspect nothing out of the ordinary about him. R. A. Johns, describes the English landscape, the empty fields and lonely farm houses in her short story. The loneliness of this landscape ties into the main character own loneliness. Always being on the road and suspecting that while he is away his wife has other lovers. He toys with the idea of suicide, which gives you a glimpses into his state of mind. He is undoubtedly stressed, but appears however to like the challenge of stress, and the trill of the chase as R. A. Jones neatly puts it. The story starts to get interesting and take a different path, when, Mr Needham stays in a grubby hotel and becomes convinced at first that there is someone in his room and watching him. He also becomes fixated by a painting in his room, that he is convinced is changing before his eyes. The parallels seam to close to be coincidence. He is a salesman, the painting has a sales man in it, and they dress the same, suit and bowler hat. Mr Needham is convinced that the painting even changes to show the last place he visited that day, in which he made an unsuccessful sales pitch. Is he paranoid, tied or even just ill? He does to begin with suspect that he could be coming down with something. He is a bit obsessed with germs, remarking how many germs there are likely to be on a hotel key card. So there for could also be a bit of a hypochondriac. When the painting changes again R. A. Johns describes, the hotel setting. You get a sense of fear and shock as the salesman looks on in horror at his unfolding day play out in the image before him. He fears he is losing his mind, or is he dreaming? You will have to read the story to find out! Brilliant short story full of descriptive words and very interesting. Would highly recommend 5 stars.