Red Baker [NOOK Book]

Overview

When Red Baker, a Larmel steel worker in Baltimore, Maryland, gets laid off from his job he goes crazy: boozing, attempted philandering, running away from his future. Filled with unforgettable characters from Red's angry but loyal wife, Wanda; his basketball-star son, Ace; his lifelong friend Dog, a casualty of the layoff; and Crystal, the go-go dancer at Lily's bar who embodies Red's fantasies of escape. Red Baker is a classic American novel about a man with no identity who ...

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Red Baker

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Overview

When Red Baker, a Larmel steel worker in Baltimore, Maryland, gets laid off from his job he goes crazy: boozing, attempted philandering, running away from his future. Filled with unforgettable characters from Red's angry but loyal wife, Wanda; his basketball-star son, Ace; his lifelong friend Dog, a casualty of the layoff; and Crystal, the go-go dancer at Lily's bar who embodies Red's fantasies of escape. Red Baker is a classic American novel about a man with no identity who tries to replace the one he's lost.

Set in the world of the hard-working men of the steel mills, this acclaimed work tells the story of an unemployed steelworker who drinks, nearly loses his wife, and decides to come back fighting.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
After spending more than a few years out of print, Robert Ward's Red Baker, which won the prestigious PEN West prize for Best Novel in 1985, is finally being reissued. With a reverential foreword by Michael Connelly, this story about a Baltimore steelworker's downward spiral into despair after he loses his job is an archetypal "Great American Novel" comparable to Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath and Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

In the winter of 1983, after spending most of his life working around the forges at Larmel Steel, 40-year-old Red Baker is summarily laid off. With a much cheaper workforce overseas, the company's six-month shutdown is rumored to be permanent. Baker's life is turned upside down in an instant. Possessing only "nontransferable skills," his ordeal at the unemployment office offers no hope. With a wife and teenage son to support, Baker moves from one short-lived minimum wage job to another, becoming increasingly dejected. Things turn from bad to worse: A former coworker in the same predicament commits suicide, and in the same week, Baker's wife, Wanda, and his mistress -- a go-go dancer named Crystal -- both leave him. Increasingly popping pills and drinking hard liquor to cope, Baker turns to one desperate criminal act…

In the book's foreword, Connelly describes this as a literary novel, a crime novel, and a novel of social reflection. "In Red Baker, one man's story becomes our story, his conscious becomes our collective conscious. His journey is our own. I am Red Baker and so are you. It is why it should always be celebrated and always in print." Paul Goat Allen
Library Journal
Ward won the 1985 PEN West Prize for this fanfare-for-the-common-man novel of our eponymous hero's crackup after loosing his job as a steel worker. Baker, a regular blue-collar Joe, descends into a sort of underworld of booze and strip clubs while trying to run away from himself. Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781440533891
  • Publisher: F+W Media
  • Publication date: 5/1/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Sales rank: 459,142
  • File size: 384 KB

Meet the Author

Robert Ward
ROBERT WARD is the author of eight novels, including Shedding Skin; Four Kinds of Rain, which was nominated for the Hammett Award and was a New York Times Notable Book; and Red Baker, which won the PEN West Award for Best Novel. A former writer and producer of Hill Street Blues, Miami Vice, and New York Undercover.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    a reviewer

    In the 1980s fortyish Red Baker was downsized as part of a sixty percent workforce reduction at Larmel Steel. He has few options as the industry laid off a large chunk of the lunch bucket brigade. His best friend Dog also fired blames the ¿Nips¿, but Red knows better. Still he fears telling his spouse and children even avoiding going home until he has no choice but to explain that his aspirations of the American dream have been shattered.--------------- Unable to cope with his inability to no longer take care of his family and considered non-trainable at his age, Red accepts menial jobs to bring in some income after unemployment checks end. However, he proves incapable of switching from a highly regarded skill of a steel worker to a car park attendant so he is fired. His esteem shatters further as his neighbors belittle him for not keeping a job his wife Wanda, his son Ace, and Dog worry about him even his mistress Crystal thinks he is losing it. Turning to alcohol and desperate, Red persuades Dog to do an act of stupidity.---------- This is a reprint of an insightful 1980s character study in which a hard working honest man doing the right thing finds his beliefs castrated as he falls from despair to depression to amoral behavior. Red is a terrific protagonist who feels he played fair, but was unfairly treated by his firm and society. His relationship with his wife is falling apart, but that looks glowing compared to his son who cannot hide his animosity as his heroic father suddenly increasingly lets him down. Still poignant today, readers of deep social issues will appreciate Robert Ward¿s strong tale though the story line needs time to truly take off as the first segue introduces the audience to a stunned deer in the headlights Red. Readers will want to take the time to get to the meat of this terrific tale.--- Harriet Klausner

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    Interesting tale of a laid off factory worker and how devastatin

    Interesting tale of a laid off factory worker and how devastating this can be.  Story moves quickly getting the reader invovled and caring about Red.  Recommend it to all.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2014

    Sad story

    186 pages

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 1, 2013

    Super

    It was awesome

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2012

    Get this book

    You gotta read this book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 16, 2012

    Great

    Best book I've read in a while!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2014

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    Posted April 2, 2013

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    Posted August 6, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 10, 2012

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    Posted August 6, 2012

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Sort by: Showing all of 11 Customer Reviews

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