Friday, December 05, 2008
Best-Loved Books of 2008, #5: Favorite satire of office life
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Personal Days by Ed Park (Random House)
(Bonus: Terrifyingly timely!)
Joshua Ferris' highly acclaimed novel Then We Came To The End demonstrated that actual literature can happen in cubicle land. The funny and charming Ed Park (co-editor of The Believer) takes it a step further with Personal Days: structural innovation, wordplay, paranoia and misdirection... applied to the realm of random firings, arbitrary protocols, dumb nicknames, and potential romance that define contemporary office life. Kafka, Nabokov, and yes, Dwight Schrute would feel right at home.
While I'm not sure which group will be publishing Personal Days after the Black Wednesday shufle in publishing, the terrors of corporate life were never more apparent, nor more in need of a dose of irreverence. Courage and good cheer to our colleagues on the publishing side -- may you be able to laugh, albeit ruefully, at the vagaries of the Company, and not wait until your laptop battery is dying in a darkened elevator to connect with the people you love.