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Recently read: Personal Days

[Originally published at the now defunct group blog explananda.com]

Posted on April 5, 2009
Tags: book_reviews

Ed Park. Personal Days

Personal Days is set almost entirely in NYC in an unspecified company in an unspecified industry. The industry is as unimportant to the plot as it is to the characters, who spend their time watching their lives seep away, gossiping, procrastinating, fantasizing, and swinging between soul-crushing boredom and terror at the probable layoffs around the corner.

Park’s writing is a bit uneven, but he certainly has his moments. I’ve never worked in an office, but I imagine that survivors of dysfunctional corporate environments will especially enjoy his skewering of contemporary corporate language and mores. The front cover of this book features a quotation claiming that “[i]f P.G. Wodehouse worked in a modern-day office, he might have written this hilarious book.” This is a stunningly inapt comparison. If you’re looking for a British author to compare Park to, I think Will Self might be closer to the mark. For better or worse, Personal Days shares something of Self’s manic hyperbole. This can be a bit much at times, but there are a few funny moments in the book, and I enjoyed reading to the end, curious to find out how it would turn out.