Aaron Schneider's new novel The Supply Chain is both masterful in its use of form and style, and a fearless literary foray into the banality of evil.
For decades, companies have used London, Ontario, to test market their products because it is a quintessentially average North American city, and Matt Nowak is as average as the city in which he lives: He watches hockey on Saturday nights and football on Sundays. He has a job that he doesn’t like but that he was lucky to get. He has a house in a suburb that he can only barely afford, and a newborn son who he struggles to love because he was himself raised by cold and distant parents. But one part of Matt’s life is far from average: the company he works for manufactures the armored vehicles that Saudi Arabia is using in the war in Yemen, and that conflict, whose chief victims are children no different than his son, forms the backdrop to everything Matt does.
The Supply Chain weaves a father’s emotional journey, poems, and found texts into an urgent and lyrical exploration of love, complicity, and the far-reaching consequences of average lives.
Praise for The Supply Chain:
"The most vital imperative for any novel that plays with form is trust: the reader must trust the writer, since the familiar form is rejected as inadequate to the story that needs to be told. Aaron Schneider has won our trust. And he runs with it.
The Supply Chain coalesces around Matt Nowak, a man of stoic drive and stoppered love—traits that are reflected in the language itself, the structure of narrative. With confidence and surety, Schneider creates a gentle yet ever-persistent sense of menace, interspersing that tension with sentences so sensual, they made me gasp."
-Marianne Apostolides, author of I Can't Get You Out of My Mind
"Aaron Schneider’s The Supply Chain is refreshingly sharp and surprising. Equal parts odd and alluring, startlingly frank and complexly poetic, it is a deeply personal and political novel. Turning each page is like opening a door or asking a question—the writing is unendingly crafted to present its content in its truest form: mashing words, mixing poetry with prose, and not only subverting but toppling expectations about what a novel can or should be. Schneider is a masterful guide through the geographical and psychological landscape of living in the modern world, where the gory repercussions of war and political repartee are ever present but also bluntly estranged from the mundane, insipid privilege of the Canadian experience. In The Supply Chain, the fabric of society, those threads both perceived and invisible, are tightly interwoven with a person’s psyche. The novel is bold, smart, and gorgeously blended, presenting Southwestern Ontario as an intricate tapestry that is undoubtedly fraying at the edges."
-Erica McKeen, author of Tear
"Aaron Schneider takes us through castle dungeons, galleries, office parks, suburbs, and pools with a sociologist's precision, a poet's eye, and a swimmer's sense of when to breathe. Supply Chain shows us with blistering clarity the chilly self-delusions of the accomplice, the aider and abettor, the cog in the wheel. So come on in - the water's dark and deep."
-Geoffrey D. Morrison, author of Falling Hour