A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison
This has been my first Corban Addison novel and it will not be the last. I have been struck by the outstanding quality of the writing of Addison in A Harvest of Thorns a novel about corporate greed at its worst within the fashion industry and how workers in Bangladesh are exploited for profit.
The story begins with a fire at a factory with tragic consequences as many people are killed trapped by the flames and acrid smoke. Among those killed is a young girl trying to escape the fire by climbing down a makeshift rope ladder sadly the rope that was tied together using the garments from the factory floor gives way and the girl falls to her death. A photographer later takes a photograph of the young girl and instantly the photograph becomes front page news around the world. But the image captures something else that will shake a large American clothing retailer ‘presto’ to the core. But one question remains why was this factory even producing their range of garments in the first place as this was not one of the factories on the list in fact it never met any of criteria in the first place.
Now it is damage limitation for Presto as they try to make sure that no damage to the company name comes from the fire. Some years later a chance for a former journalist Joshua Griswold to rebuild he shattered career when a chance tip off comes from an employee. What Griswold does with this information will be dramatic as he goes about building a court case that will if he wins have ramifications for the fashion industry on a world wide scale and would rock Presto from the shop floor to the boardroom.
This is a story rooted in fact as it is based on a true account of a factory fire in Bangladesh in 2010. At times this is a difficult read as it goes to the very core of the issue of forces labour and the appalling working conditions in the factories. It leaves many questions for the reader about certain areas of the fashion industry and their ethics. I found A Harvest of Thorns to be an important read and an important book that will open many eyes to just what does go on in this trade. If you enjoy a John Grisham style novel, then you would want to read this. Many will go with the style of writing that I found flowed from one chapter to the next. At times it can be a difficult read but at the same time it is really compelling.
Thank you to Olivia Mead for the advanced review copy.
A Harvest of Thorns by Corban Addison is published by Quercus Books and is now available through Waterstones, Amazon and all good bookshops.
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