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Nice Work by David Lodge




Nice Work ( by David Lodge):

 

Author: David Lodge was born in London in 1935. He was in the British Army. In 1960 he retired to become a full time writer.He wrote many successful novels and essays.

Other books: Small World

                         How far can you go?



1st  book: 

Victor Wilcox is maried. He is a business man and he has got three children    

( Raymond, Gary and Sandra;). This morning he is waiting for the beep of his clock at 6.45. His wife Marjorie is in the menopause. After he has been in the bathroom, he goes into the kitchen to prepare breakfast and to smoke his first cigarette. Vic is a managing director at J. Pringle`s. They get the newspaper delivered every day. On this morning Vic complains about how Marjorie brings up Sandra ("You treat her like a doll!"). Marjorie also wants to have a microwave and Vic allows it. At 7.40 Vic leaves home. He likes his way to work, because he can relax in his car with music by Carly Simon, Diana Ross or Sade and Jennifer Rush. On his way to work he also passes a town called "Dark country." It has got its name because of its environment (much smog) and because of its inhabitants (most of them are immigrants from India, Pakistan or the Carribean). When he arrives at the factory where he works, the two receptionists Doreen and Lesley and his secretary welcome him. (her name is Shirley;)

Robyn Penrose was born in Australia as Roberta Anne Penrose. She left Australia when she was five years old. Today she is about 33 and she is a temporary lecturer in English literature at Rummidge University. This morning her friend Charles drives to Ipswich, because a new term starts. Robyn likes music by Bach, Philip Glass and Phil Collins. She has got a Renault 5. Naturally she is an optimistic person. Because of the distance between Rummidge  and Ipswich they break up their close relationship and they only meet when they have time. They go to the theatre or to the cinema together. After their breaking up, Robyn joins a women´s group.

Everthorpe, he also works at J. Pringles, has got a meeting with Vic Wilcox and all the other technical and production managers. They discuss about how they can grow in sales. Vic´s wife and his daughter Sandra are sitting in a café while Vic is at this meeting. Robyn is at the the university and talks to her students about industrial novels and the industrial revolution in the 19th century. Because of the "Industry year shadow scheme", they want to send Robyn to Pringles. She should go there once a week, to find out as much as possible about the factory. So she is a kind of "shadow" for the man, who leads her through the factory.

2nd book:

On Wednesday, January 22nd Robyn drives to the factory. At first she does not want to and it is very difficult for her, because of the bad weather. On the way to the factory, which is in West Wallsbury, a man offers her all kinds of drugs, but she refuses. Before she drives to the factory, she stops at a petrol station, where she meets Brian Everthorpe, who shows her the way to the factory. Vic, the managing director, is very surprised about the fact, that Robyn is a woman. But although she is female he leads her around in the factory. She finds out that the factory is old, dirty and ugly and that only a few women work there. Most of the workers are men (from Asia and the Carribean). She also sees some porno pictures which are hanging around in the factory. She is highly shocked about that. She also participates in the meeting of the managing directors. There she hears that they want to fire a worker without letting him know. She warns him, and after she has done this she wants to drive home, but her car has broken down. Finally Vic helps her and she can drive home.

3rd book:



She tells Charles about her first stay at Pringles. He just stays for the weekend. She tells him about Vic Wilcox and Danny Ram and that Vic was standing in front of her door on Wednesday evening. He wanted her to go to the factory again to tell the workers that they were not allowed to go on a strike. They had to continue working. On the next morning she goes back to the university.

This chapter is about Saturday evening at Vic`s home. His daughter Sandra is out at the disco with her boyfriend Cliff ( Vic does not like him). Raymond is not at home either. Gary (his youngest son) and he, are sitting in front of the TV. Marjorie is lying in bed reading her book "Enjoy your menopause." Vic switches off the TV-set and both go to bed. As he reaches the bedroom Marjorie is still awake. After a long time she wants to have sex with her husband again, but he refuses. Vic forgets to wait for his daughter Sandra. As he hears voices in the livingroom he wakes up to look what is going on. He finds Raymond and his friends sitting in the living room, having fun.

On Sunday afternoon suddenly the bell rings at Robyn´s house. It is her brother Basil with his girlfriend Debbie. He drives a BMW and Robyn finds out that he is very rich now. He works at a bank and earns a lot of money, much more than she does. Debbie is a pretty, pale faced girl with blond hair cut like Princess Diana´s and a figure of almost anorexic slimness. She has got a cockney accent. Robyn does not like Debbie.

4th book:

It is about the second stay at Vic Wilcox` factory. At the first moment Vic is shocked about Robyn`s appearance, but finally he begs her to stay. Vic and Robyn drive to a factory called "Foundrax." Pringles sell diesel powered pumps to them, but there is another factory which sells them much cheaper. So Vic has to go there to find out about the reason. On the way back they stop at a restaurant to eat something. On the next day Robyn gets a phone call at the university. It is Vic Wilcox, who wants her to know, that they found out about their rivalling firm. It is a factory called Rawlinson´s. Some weeks after the phone call Vic realizes that he is in love with Robyn.

 

The winter term starts at Rummidge. Everybody is ill (running noses, a cold;) Robyn plays twice a week squash with her friend Penny Black. Every Wednesday she goes to Pringels which is a distraction from university. Charles comes to see her more frequently. During a car drive Robyn talks with Vic about smoking and the health consequences. Vic invites her for lunch on Sunday. He has got a fight with his wife, because he wants to have a stater, when Robyn joins them at lunch. At the factory Vic remarks an affair between Brian Everthorpe and Shirley and he himself thinks about Robyn all the time.

Robyn calls Vic at home and tells him, that she comes alone for lunch on Sunday. She is highly amused because everybody talks to her (Raymond about his band, Gary tells her something about computer games and Sandra talks about hairstyling) Marjorie spends all the time in the kitchen. After lunch Robyn and Vic have a walk together (this is one of his secret wishes;) They talk about everything: How often they go to church, about Sandra,who does not want to go to university and so on. He wants Robyn to talk to Sandra to tell her something about university. When she comes home she phones Charles to tell him about her stay at Vic`s place. On the next Wednesday she cannot go to the factory, because of a bad flu.(In his mind he counts the days between her stays). Vic wants to go with her to Frankfurt, because he have to buy a new machine for the factory. Finally she decides to go with him. The university pays one half of the price and the other half pays Pringles. Before her depature to Frankfurt Basil tells her on the phone, that Charles stayed two times overnight at Debbie`s.  

 

5th book:

Vic picks her up at 6.30. He is fascinated by her dressing. He says that she will be his personal assistant in Frankfurt. The city is a big contrast to Rummidge. Vic has to go to Frankfurt, because he has to buy a new machine for the factory. Dr. Winkler wants to have 177 000 pounds but he only wants to pay 150 000 pounds. The two do not go on a sightseeing tour, because of the rain, but they go swimming in the pool at the hotel. In the evening they drink champagne and they also go to the disco together. After that they sleep together, this has been Vic`s secret wish for weeks.




After her return from Frankfurt she tells her friend Penny about what has happened. He calls her to meet him again, he also wants to get divorced to marry Robyn. Being in love with her he comes to her at home to talk to her. Vic´s daughter also visits her at her place.

For the Easter vacation she drives to her parents to the South coast. She writes a book during the stay, about women in the 19th century. When she returns she finds many letters from Vic and also one from Charles. She puts Vic´s letters into the waste paper basket, without reading them. Charles want to split up.

Marjorie wants to look attractive to Vic so she buys many new things (shoes, dresses,).

 

6th book:

Robyn does not know if she could stay at Rummidge university any longer. She also goes to a party where she meets Professor Zapp. He wants to read her manuscript. Phillip Swallow asks her how the report about the shadow sheme is going on. He also tells her that Vic shadows her for the summer term as a second part of the shadow sheme. This time she tells her students something about Tennyson`s poems. Marion Russell reads her text out to her colleagues.

She gets used to being shadowed. In the break the teachers discuss the new syllabus. Vic tells her that he likes Tennyson´s poems best. One day she gets a phone call from Morris Zapp, who accepts her script. Vic losts his job, because Pringles will be sold. Marjorie is happy about this news, she wants to get a job, because she feels bored at home. Gary suggests his father, to found his own business.

Robyn has got an uncle in law in Australia and one day she gets a letter. In this letter it says that she should get 100 000 pounds (it is his last will;) Charles writes a letter to her, and he wants her to think about their relationship. As Vic tells Robyn about his unemployment, she gives the money to him, because she has got a job, she does not want to retire, she does not really need the money. Finally Robyn goes to America, to become a writer. Her colleagues are very sad about losing her, and also many students signed up for her courses.

 

Main characters:

 

Roberta Anne Penrose:  Robyn is a temporary lecturer in English Literature at the university of Rummidge. She is about 33 years old and her parents live at the South coast.

 

Vic Wilcox:  Victor Eugene was born on the 19th of October in 1940. He is married to

Marjorie and he has got three children (Raymond, Gary, Sandra;) He is a managing director at J. Pringle & Sons Casting and General Engineering.

 

Marjorie: She is Vic´s wife and she is in the menopause. She treats Sandra like a doll and she also wants to have a microwave. She does not look very attractive.










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