by Ed Park - £7.99 Vintage (2009)
paperback ISBN 13: 9780099520580 | ISBN 10: 0099520583
Ever wondered what your boss does all day? Or if there is a higher – perhaps an existential – significance to Microsoft Word malfunctions?
This astonishing debut is a scathingly funny look at a group of office workers who have no idea what the unnamed corporation they work for actually does. When it looks like the company may be taken over, fear of redundancy unleashes a deliciously Kafkaesque plot full of the tedium and mistrust of corporate life and the backstabbing bitchiness of our survival-of-the-fittest instincts.
We meet Pru, the ex–grad student–turned–spreadsheet drone; Laars, the hysteric whose work anxiety follows him into his tooth-grinding dreams; and Jonah, the secret striver who must pick his allegiance. Assailed from all sides, Park's idiosyncratic cast of characters battle paranoia, boredom and the complexities of the lunch break as each struggles to figure out who among them is trying to bring the company down - and why.
Rich with Orwellian doublespeak, filled with sabotage and romance and capturing the relentless monotony and paranoia of office life with uncanny precision, Personal Days is a novel for anyone who's ever worked in an office and wondered, 'Where does the time go? Where does life go? And whose banana is in the fridge?'
"As much a novel of pitch-perfect comic vignettes of working life, Personal Days is the ideal book to read under the table during the next staff training seminar. Park has strayed into Ricky Gervais’ territory and may soon be its king."
"The funniest novel of office life in decades... a must read."
(Price & availability last checked: October 2018)