e-Book, 180 pp.
(Tina Rhea #19)
ISBN 978-1-55497-393-4 $10.00
A few weeks ago, after a literary luncheon, an eminent critic asked me which Cathedral City I had in mind when ‘I wrote a certain novel. The correct answer, of course, to all such questions is that imaginary places, like imaginary persons, have their location only in the fancy.
Once again I wish to point out that the persons and events in my novels are imaginary, save when I have purposely made them otherwise: Count Juniper Figg is to be found in no reference book, nor will his son’s name (save by one of those disastrous coincidences, against which not even the most prudent may guard) be found in the Directory of Directors. In short, Treadmill is a piece of fiction.
That fact made, I trust, clear, I should like to point out that when an Author gives his characters names, features, tastes in dress, he gives them, likewise, opinions. That their opinions need no more resemble the opinions of the author than his characters’ eyes or noses or names resemble his, seems hardly necessary to point out; except that readers will persist in attributing to an author the view of his characters.
Of all the aspects of a human relationship that novelists have used as their themes, none has been so neglected—especially by those authors who have written in English—as the tie which bind son to father, father to son.
In Treadmill, Michael Harrison tackles this father-son relationship in his own highly original fashion, and around the central fact of Eldred Figg’s love for his optimistic, boastful, selfish, incompetent father, he has woven a plot in which ironical humour and tender humanity blend to make a novel of unique distinction. Michael Harrison has firmly established his claim to be ranked among the major contemporary novelists, and Treadmill, by its bitingly satirical description of the contemporary scene, its masterly delineation of human character, well justifies what the Observer had to say in connection with the publication of Mr. Harrison’s preceding novel: "Certainly if he can go on producing work of the atmosphere and quality of The House in Fishergate, he may become an author who is as much a part of our book-space as are Bennett, Walpole and Wells."