Book Notes: Susie Steiner’s Remain Silent

This could have been a nice police procedural if Steiner didn’t insert utterly inane woke diatribes into it. She has so much to say about the reasons why people’s personal lives suck and a great gift for portraying familial and relational dysfunction. If only she stayed on that instead of forcing her superficial and dumb political opinions on the readers.

The novel is about Lithuanian migrant workers in the UK who end up being exploited as slave labor. Steiner does an excellent job portraying the desperation of the migrants who realize they’ve been tricked into coming to a place where they shouldn’t be. The mental and physical torture the migrant workers experience is very realistically depicted, and it’s obvious the writer did a lot of research for the book.

Unfortunately, it all falls apart when Steiner tries to use the facts she learned about the exploitation of migrant workers to serve her idiotic political agenda. The exploitation of migrants is terrible, she tells the readers over and over. But it’s necessary because Brits won’t do the jobs that migrants do because Brits are lazy and unmotivated.

The argument makes no sense because the only reason why migrants work as hard as they do in the novel is that they are tortured by Edikas, the Lithuanian slave trafficker.

Steiner goes out if her way to portray as real evildoers the working class Brits who lose their jobs to slave handlers like Edikas and who can’t compete with the labor prices he can offer because his slaves work for free. They are UKIPers, they are Nazis, they are somehow so powerful that they infiltrated state schools to teach that Nazism is no big deal.

The logic of the novel goes contrary to Steiner’s political goals. The Lithuanian migrants in the novel cut off a UKIPer’s head and store his body in a freezer. Steiner still stays doggedly on message and makes the protagonist, a police detective, resign from the job because of how unfair it is that a head-chopping migrant should go to jail for beheading the evil, disgusting UKIPer.

The problem with the authors of junk lit introducing political manifestos into their novels is that they aren’t smart enough to have politics beyond primitive slogans. Steiner did a lot of research for Remain Silent. She even traveled to Klaipeda to talk to Lithuanians at home. And she discovered really important stuff about the horrors of human trafficking.

The truth about human trafficking, though, doesn’t fit in with Steiner’s leftism. This is why she tries to position the UKIP character’s resentment against the very white Lithuanians as racist and constantly repeats the tired old canard about the laziness of non-slave workers.

I’ve been seeing in British authors in particular this trend in turning every piece of writing into a political screed. I’m not seeing this in US writers of genre lit. Or not yet, at least.

The novel is still valuable because it shows you how brainwashed people like Steiner are and how utterly bankrupt leftism is. Even a couple of decades ago, any leftist worth a dime would have easily recognized that the British worker who loses his job because he wants decent pay and benefits and a migrant slave worker are both victims of the exploitative class that wants to exploit labor and undo the advances achieved by the British workers in the 20th century. Agree with it or not but this was real leftism. Today, though, leftism is all about setting one group of poor exploited bastards against another for the benefit of the wealthy clueless brats like Steiner herself.

9 thoughts on “Book Notes: Susie Steiner’s Remain Silent”

  1. Are you still dripping with sweat inside of your humid house? I have a heat advisory in my area too.

    None of the other reviews seem to mention this slant, though. The ones that hated it seem to focus on liking the character and finding the book hard to get into.

    Anyways, who knows if this is going to be Steiner’s last novel since she was diagnosed with brain cancer. 😦

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    1. It’s great inside the house. The office, though, is a sauna. And my new face shield fogs over. The biology lab is trying to solve it (I’ve requested it for the students) but we’ll see. Stay cool! This weather is evil.

      As for the review, I always try to give a different perspective because it is fun. I’ll try to post my favorite long quote from the book. The main character’s best friend got dumped by her husband. The husband left her for a young girl and the protagonist is telling him what awaits him in the new relationship. It’s absolutely priceless.

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      1. “I’ll tell you how this is going to pan out for you, shall I? You’ll shack up with Shanaya.” Manon starts pacing as she reads Peter’s future. “Sure, you’ll have a few mini breaks; you’ll be humping away in a Holiday Inn Express thinking, This is great, and you’ll bob down to breakfast without having to wrestle any small people into shoes. But a few years down the line, she’ll want kids, and you’ll be going through the whole rigmarole again, except this time, you’ll be hitting fifty. You’re so tired, you can’t believe it. Your older kids—the original kids—don’t talk to you because you destroyed their childhoods, but my God, they’re expensive. You’re paying for two households—and don’t worry, I’ll be encouraging Bri to take you to the cleaners—and you’ll be more tired and more skint than you ever thought possible because sodding Shanaya and little baby Chardonnay want the best of everything. And your original friends, the ones you had with Bryony, will be starting to have decent holidays, involving rafting and long-haul flights. But not you. Oh, no. You’ll be hanging out with the most boring baby group on earth, listening to them obsess about baby-led weaning. That’s your future. And Shanaya, who used to wake you up with a blow job every morning, only talks about whether Chardonnay might be lactose intolerant.” Peter is ashen-faced, staring at Manon. “It’s called revenge of the second wife. You’ll be longing to settle down in front of Happy Valley with someone a bit portly who doesn’t want to shag you, but instead you’ll be booking some hideous date night or weekend away involving relentless romance and intense ‘lovemaking.’ ” Manon makes extremely large quote marks in the air, with a little knee bend (monumentally painful, but she styles it out). “Because Shanaya is nothing if not high maintenance. And then she’ll leave you cos you’ve got a paunch instead of a Porsche and you’re not half as sexy as you used to be what with being exhausted the whole time, being skint, and having a dodgy prostate. Or, you could reverse fate.”

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          1. I snorted.

            I think you have to be a woman of a certain age to find this funny though. 🤣

            I’m just imagining endless baby showers with mystery substances ground into diapers merging into endless discussions of mystery poop and men saying, “I’m tired” like they’re Madeline Kahn in Blazing Saddles

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  2. “Today, though, leftism is all about setting one group of poor exploited bastards against another for the benefit of the wealthy clueless brats”

    I fully expect them to become apologists for slavery* (if they haven’t already)…. “misunderstood institution” “security””mutual rights and responsibilities” … except for the slavery in the US that ended 150 years ago….

    *by which I mean chattel slavery as is still practiced in parts of Africa and the Middle East not metaphoric slavery of the USSR (which they also generally approve of).

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    1. I tend to be extremely naive. I thought all of the well-meaning lefty types who support mass migration of unskilled labor simply don’t know that these workers are getting terribly exploited and that this isn’t about freely made individual choices to travel like those of the globetrotting elites.

      But Steiner is very aware of what’s involved in dragging these Eastern Europeans over. She simply doesn’t give a crap. It bugs the local worker types so it’s got to be the greatest thing ever. The cynicism is unbelievable.

      Why the educated fancy-schmancy types hate workers so much is still a mystery. I’m an educated schmancy type but I don’t get it.

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      1. “It bugs the local worker types so it’s got to be the greatest thing ever”

        One write called it ‘leapfrogging loyalties’ deciding that some people close to them are unworthy and idealizing those far away… but they’re not loyal to those people either…..

        It’s good old fashioned telescopic philanthropy practiced up close – they convince themselves that they’re doing good by…. allowing foreigners to work in horrible conditions while their fellow citizens struggle.

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