The Gritterman


The Gritterman isn’t much of one for reading. Yet the letter he receives from the council is unmistakeable. He is about to take his last run, gritting the B2116. He supposes the road is tarmac covered now. Yet the side roads and queues of traffic will need his services. The Gritterman grits the pavements and footpaths ‘before it gets dark’. He feels like ‘a seasonal hero.’

The seemingly small life of The Gritterman is fulfilled by his role. He misses his Joy,  listens for the radio weather forecast,  exalts the moon. What will he do after his final run? After the A-roads and B-roads? What is out there for The Gritterman?

The Gritterman’is an inner monologue of text, punctuated in snow-white borders by weather wet ink pictures. It is a graphic novel/ sophisticated picture book rich in pathos. The Gritterman‘is a glorious book.

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The Gritterman

Orlando Weeks

(Penguin Random House)

The Gritterman has received a letter. ‘Dear Sir, your services are no longer required…‘ Yet what is there to do? What is there to live for, if not the B2116? Even in the summer when he is an ice cream vendor, he is waiting for winter, for gritting. It seems to fit the rhythms of his life. Then again, there’s the beauty of the season, the need of the world for his service. Therefore, we head out, one last time, to experience the gritting. Orlando Weeks offers a glorious story of such pathos and meaning. It is almost as though we can feel what our gritter is feeling, so that each step, each movement aches. Then again, the tones of the pictures, the lack of identity suggests the weightlessness of snow alongside the feeling of invisibility felt by our central character. It seems that The Gritterman is a ‘word of mouth’ title, one that has lived on since its first appearance. What’s more, this is a most beautiful book to be shared, revisited, loved and gifted. Like A Swallow in Winter, we suggest its simplicity, message and thereafter the pace and journey within the story, capture readers and make us feel.


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