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Personal Days: A Novel by [Park, Ed]
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Personal Days: A Novel Kindle Edition

3.3 out of 5 stars 39 customer reviews

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Length: 258 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Park's warm and winning fiction debut is narrated by a collective we of youngish Manhattan office grunts who watch in helpless horror as their company keeps shrinking, taking their private world of in-jokes and nicknames along with it. The business itself remains opaque, but who eats lunch with whom, which of the two nearby Starbucks is the good Starbucks, and whose desk knickknacks have the richest iconography become abundantly clear. What starts out feeling like a cutesy set of riffs evolves into such a deft, familiar intimacy that when the next round of layoffs begins in earnest, the reader is just as disconcerted as the characters. As office survivors Lizzie, Jonah, Pru, Crease, Lars and Jason II try to figure out who's next to get the axe, mysterious clues point to a conspiracy that may involve one or more of the survivors. By the time answers arrive, Park—former Voice Literary Supplement editor, a founding editor of the Believer and the creator of the e-zine the New York Ghost—has built the tension masterfully. Echoing elements from Ferris's debut smash, Then We Came to the End, Park may have written the first cubicle cozy. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From The New Yorker

This comic and creepy début novel takes place in a Manhattan office depopulated by "the Firings," where one can "wander vast tracts of lunar workscape before seeing a window." The downsized staff huddle like the crew of a doomed spaceship, picked off one by one by an invisible predator. Crippled by computer crashes (one worker suggests that the machines are "trying to tell us about the limits of the human"), the survivors eddy in a spiritual inertia; when one of them is banished to "Siberia"—a lone desk on another floor—no one can muster the energy even to reply to her increasingly anguished e-mails, until, one day, she is simply no longer there. Park transforms the banal into the eerie, rendering ominous the familiar request "Does anyone want anything from the outside world?"
Copyright ©2008Click here to subscribe to The New Yorker

Product Details

  • File Size: 350 KB
  • Print Length: 258 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0812978579
  • Publisher: Random House (May 13, 2008)
  • Publication Date: May 13, 2008
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0018ZS4I6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #520,890 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Personal Days is both funny and clever - it can be enjoyed for its hilarious and familiar observations of contemporary office life absurdities and appreciated for Ed Park's witty writing style. It's the perfect literary companion to Dilbert, The Office, and Office Space.

The characters are sharply portrayed with satirical affection - reading the book was like starting a new job and meeting a new set of coworkers who could become one's friends or nemeses.

The plot is gripping and culminates in something rare in many of today's novels - an ending that is both satisfying and leaves one guessing.

I highly recommend Personal Days and look forward to more of Mr. Park's refreshing voice.
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Format: Paperback
Take this hilarious, biting satire to work and sneak a read whenever you need reassurance that offices everywhere are as crazy as yours. In "Personal Days," employees at a New York firm bicker and squabble over everything from who should take responsibility for a paper-jam to who has dibs on the "limited-edition Japanese Post-its." In between, they gossip, consume loads of coffee and cigarettes and, when they have time, actually squeeze in some work. Occasionally, they're rewarded with a "deprotion, which is a promotion that shares most of the hallmarks of a demotion." The Kafka-esque absurdities pile up. For instance, you never want gushing praise from the boss -- it's an unconscious sign, "like a poker player's tell," that the boss is mentally preparing himself or herself to give you the pink slip. And after all the laughs, writer Ed Park knows just when to get profound and touching on us. His book bursts with creativity -- at times too much of it. Indeed, if there's any complaint at all, it's that "Personal Days" is another of those books that plays with typesetting and fonts and gimmicks. The last section is a 50-page, one-sentence rant. On the plus side, you won't mind working overtime so you can finish reading it in one sitting.
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Format: Paperback
The first thing you need to know is that this is a story about a small group of young, whiny, white-collar, Manhattan employees of some generic giant corporation based in Omaha. None of the characters are developed in any manner beyond some jaunty nicknames and a few personal tics, peeves, and obsessions, so if you like to read about fleshed-out "real" characters, move on. Next, you need to know that it's a black comedy about corporate downsizing and the shallow communities formed by coworkers. If that doesn't sound interesting, then move on. (Caveat: If it does sounds interesting and you've already read Joshua Ferris's Then We Came to the End, you may be disappointed by how much of the same territory is covered...) Finally, you need to know that it's structured somewhat awkwardly. Both the first and second sections unfold in paragraph-sized scenes or vignettes. However, the first section is written in the first person, while the second section is written in a more distancing third person. Then the third section is a 45-page run-on sentence email from one of the peripheral characters to another. This all feels rather gimmicky and unnecessary, so if you like your narratives served "regular," move on.

Anyway, the book kicks off with a handful of workers amidst an ocean of empty cubicles, as "the firings" have decimated their ranks. Their main concern is "who's next?" -- a topic they pick at like a scab, huddled over desks, in emails, and at happy hours. Confusing their speculation is that there are several layers of management, and no one is really sure how the hierarchy works. Not to mention the suspicion that one of the managers must be a spy for their new owners in California.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Personal Days is a funny and sardonic read, and while the laughs come quickly, at times somewhat painfully, in a good way, there is real intelligence to this book. The characters seem to be dashed off at first glance, but quickly you find that they feel real and complete, or at least as real and complete as any of the people in real life that we get to know in the same way: through quirky episodes and odd monikers and annoying or endearing tics. PD is a quick read, full of laughs, but take your time and you'll be rewarded.

I don't write many reviews.
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Format: Paperback
I LOVE this book. At first I was reading it very quickly because it is so g-damn funny and is so fun to read. Then I read slower and slower until I was only allowing myself to read a few pages at a time because I really didn't want it to end. Just a brilliant piece of work--and not only are the sentences so good (jokes within jokes within jokes) but also the structure of the book is exciting and the overall movement of the plot is extremely interesting. It moves from a very light, funny, almost sitcom-like environment gradually to a very bleak, strange, lonely place, where each secure part is torn away, piece by piece, and a single last character is left, alone, calling out into what can only seen as apocolyptic gloom. Wow. My kind of book.
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Format: Paperback
'Jill is one of those rare people who are more timid on e-mail than in real life. Sometimes she waits till Friday to send her nonurgent business e-mails, because then she can add 'Have a nice weekend!' as a tagline. 'You need to pepper your messages with a little small talk', Jill says in an android voice. There's nothing as universal as the weekend and one's modest hopes for it.'

And Ed Parks is pretty rare himself. Honestly, how gorgeous is this? The workplace as metaphor for our human predicament. Like all of us these people are both normal and deranged. The low-level anxiety, the subdued air of menace, the arms's-length despair, all this is delicious and just like life on a bad (or just a clear-eyed) day. '[T]here's no such thing as *better*.' If it's slightly strip-cartoony, well isn't life? Pleasingly tart without being hip (or flip), yet touching too, this will stand the test of time
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