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Personal Days: A Novel Paperback – May 13, 2008
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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 floorno 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?"
Top customer reviews
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For anyone who liked "e" or is currently watching The Office or loves Office Space, or into british humour in general, I think you'll really dig this short comedic masterpiece.
It's not really a narrative from start to finish.. instead it's more like short anecdotes taken from scenes inside an office building. Someone else mentioned that it's like a mix of The Office and Office Space.. which is spot-on; however, nowhere near as clever or funny.
Anyway, very Ehhhh read.
However, the story seemed to be a large amount of very short stories about the same people. Initally, it's hard to find the direction of this novel. I read this book for a book club, and would not have finished it if it weren't for wanting to discuss it fully.
Mr. Park definitely has a lot of promise and I will read his next book, hopefully it will be more of a standout from the crowd.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
Personal Days, like TWCE, is told in plural first person.Read more