So I’m finally about to get the first reading copies of The Draughtsman. Cover’s pretty nice if predictable and by that I mean what else were you going to put on the cover of a book set at the end of the second world war that features the ovens of the concentration camps as its main story.
This book took a lot out of me. I never intended to write a holocaust novel and built it up to purely examine how one would feel, how we would look at, someone who designed the ovens for the camps and somewhere in there is a message about corporate responsibility and social responsibility that has modern parallels from both sides of the coin. I hope. Through edits some of the subtlety and objectivity may have got diluted for a wider audience but that ain’t a bad thing in the long run because it’s come out fine in the wash.
What struck me recently was with the whole Apple situation and their tax bill and the countries they choose to work in based on tax avoidance and cheap labour is what makes the book relevant. You can argue that capitalism has no morals but who decided that? What if you put up your hand and asked: why not? What makes this OK? You could also argue that in some countries child sex is not frowned upon so should we open up brothels there ourselves to take advantage? What constitutes morality? Why is business immune, unaccountable?
I don’t need to point out hundreds of examples, you all can reel off a dozen yourselves where companies and the governments they hold up screwed you and your country and others all because business doesn’t have a morals department. We accept that the law must have a moral vacuum but why should we accept this from multi-nationals who, in the eyes of the law, are considered “individuals” only when it suits them? It’s a tired argument and none of us has anything new to say on it.
So I wrote a book about a man who designs ovens for Auschwitz.