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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True-to-life tales of insane office politics
At first glance Richard Hine's debut novel "Russell Wiley Is Out To Lunch" does seem to promise anything new, that it could be another in an already fairly crowded range of Nick Hornby-style novels about middle-aged men and their mid-life crises. However it's worth checking out, because whilst that is in fact what the book is about, it's a very good example of the...
Published on 9 Feb 2011 by Mr. Stuart Bruce

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Wryly Amusing But Strangely Dated
'Russell Wiley Is Out To Lunch' is a gentle and wryly amusing tale of office politics and interpersonal relationships set in and around a New York based daily newspaper.

Very readable in terms of style, what Russell Wiley lacks is real oomph, in terms of both drama and comedy. From a dramatic standpoint even significant events seem underplayed and...
Published on 5 Mar 2011 by C. Green


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True-to-life tales of insane office politics, 9 Feb 2011
By 
Mr. Stuart Bruce "DonQuibeats" (Cardiff, UK) - See all my reviews
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At first glance Richard Hine's debut novel "Russell Wiley Is Out To Lunch" does seem to promise anything new, that it could be another in an already fairly crowded range of Nick Hornby-style novels about middle-aged men and their mid-life crises. However it's worth checking out, because whilst that is in fact what the book is about, it's a very good example of the kind.

It's an American novel, set (and possibly written) in the pre-recession corporate America of 2006, as the marketing and sales departments of a newspaper struggle to keep themselves in profit while the rest of the world turns to the internet for everything. Central character Russell Wiley is a 37-year-old head-of-department who tries to remain the only single voice of sanity in a world where everything around him is crazy, a format that's handled very nicely as Russell is 'everyman' enough that you want good things to happen to him, but not so bland as to be unrealistic or unbelievable.

The characters surrounding Russell are the variety and comedy that keep the story very interesting. They range from almost normal, to incredibly irritating, and you can believe that every single one of them is a faithful representation of somebody that author Richard Hine has met in his life. If you read the "about the author" section at the back of the book, it becomes clear that in many ways, Russell Wiley IS Richard Hine himself, which explains a lot about how so many of the stories and characters ring absolutely true, no matter how ridiculous the events that are unfolding.

No matter what kind of office you work in, you'll find a lot to relate to in this, and you really will want to read on to the end. A very strong debut.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars True to life portrait of working in media, 5 Mar 2011
I picked up this book whilst staying with a friend and found it addictive. It made me laugh out loud and really reminded me of working in media and reminded me why I left! If you're looking for a good light hearted book I recommend it. I will be looking forward to reading Mr Hine's next book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars If you loved "E" by Matt Beaumont then..., 5 April 2011
By 
Hamish Pringle (London, England) - See all my reviews
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If you loved "E" by Matt Beaumont then you will also love "Russell Wiley Is Out To Lunch" - it is an easy and amusing read, especially for all the people working in media land. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really good read that was difficult to put down, 19 Mar 2011
By 
A. Taylor (Cambridge, UK) - See all my reviews
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Russell Wiley has got problems both at home and at work and is struggling to get a grip on the situation. At times it's difficult to feel sorry for a marketing executive like Russell, but you do begin to sympathise with him as he tries to stay on top of his work and his dealings with colleagues.

I found myself pleasantly surprised as the book turned out to be a real page-turner and at times I struggled to put it down. I don't know a great deal about the subject matter (newspaper publishing) but that didn't stop me from enjoying all the back-stabbing and office intrigue at the offices of the Daily Business Chronicle

I'm not going to spoil the ending for everyone, but I did find it a little predictable and cheesy in places. Having said that, it all hangs together well and is wrapped up nicely giving you a sense of satisfaction when you come to the end.

If you're after a well written, easy to read book that engages the reader and makes them want to continue reading then I'd recommend that you read this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Clothed lunch, 10 April 2011
By 
SilentSinger (London) - See all my reviews
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This debut novel, written by a London-born former advertising copywriter lifts the lid on the New York media sales industry during 2006. The blurb, stating that it's a must for fans of The Office (both UK and US editions I guess?) and anyone who's ever worked in a corporate environment - I'm guessing most of Amazon's readership fall into that category, so far so good. The author, Richard Hine pretty much bases the central character, everyman Russell Wiley on a partial version of himself, therefore he's a 37-year-old married man who's trying to hold down a position in an ever changing world which includes juxtaposing his work life with his strained home situation - married to Sam, no children, sexless marriage which is slowly going stale. A male mid-life crisis is something which has already been a feature of other novelists such as Nick Hornby and Mike Gayle to name but two.

I'm a fast reader and I admit it took me ages to finish this novel; not that it was bad, far from it - as it was densely plotted, well-written and on the whole, entertaining. Something, however made it a less than a compelling read - could it be that it was already dated? Maybe I'm no fan of complex office politics/Machiavellian plots - perhaps this was the case? I kept trying to skip through the minutiae of office life because I'm stuck with it during working hours as far as I'm concerned and I'm damned if I'm going to read about such things in my spare time.

I really feel as though Richard Hine has a great future as a novelist, he writes well and his observations are often laugh out loud funny. However, I'd love to see him write about a different subject and I think he'd really come into his own.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You'd be Mad (Men) not to buy this future classic, 10 April 2011
By 
Richard Hine has managed to capture office life with a skill and sharp wit that has only been matched by Matthew Weiner who penned the hit drama Mad Men.

Russell Wiley's journey through the perils of life on a newspaper as he juggles office politics, family life and the threat of impending redundancies is real, robust and very, very funny.

Hine's detailed and fast-paced writing style is on a par with Brett Easton Ellis (minus the blood and gore) and he captures the feel of working in such a doomed profession perfectly.

Comparisons have been made to Rickey Gervais' classic Brit drama The Office which translated so well for American audiences.

Some here in the UK say our Stateside cousins don't quite do comedy sarcasm as well as us Brits, but Hine has proved that's just not the case at all.

Russell Wiley's Out to Lunch is a must read for anyone who has to don a shirt and tie for the daily grind of working in an office.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Richard Hine's book review: `Russell Wiley is out to lunch', 7 April 2011
I've just finished this book. I picked it up because a friend of mine suggested it and I'm glad she did. It's a very funny book - I got lots of strange looks on the tube when I kept laughing out loud. It's quite easy going, a good page turner that isn't overly long - the characterizations are gentle but distinctive enough to make you warm to them and care what they're going through. The narrator is witty and makes wry observations about people that really resonated with me. I have a lot of friends working in the media industry who I think will be able to appreciate a lot about this book. A gentle amusing read, ideal for holidays.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A feel good book for bad times, 16 Mar 2011
Like a cross between A Year in the Merde by Stephen Clarke and How to lose Friends and Alienate People by Toby Young. It's a well trodden path and isn't going to intellectually set the world alight, but it is enjoyable, easy to read and a feel good book for bad times.

If you need a little escape from the grey, it's well worth reading. And if you work in a reasonably sized office, you'll probably find yourself smiling to yourself at the parallels in the book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Leaders are like Unicorns ..., 9 Feb 2011
By 
Steffan Piper (Palm Desert, CA) - See all my reviews
As I quickly got sucked into this tale of woe, I had to stop myself several times and mentally think back and unscramble some of the references made and connect them to their real-life events. From Sam Zell to dead hikers in Oregon, my brain worked overtime to nail-down the news cycle of which this emanated. It's hard, to impossible, to not find yourself doing this as author Richard Hine does this throughout the book; not because it's cute, or an implement of his style, but because this is the business that he's writing about. Newspapers, newspaper men, journalism, corporate confinement, well-structured bureaucratic greed and career-breaking gamesmanship that has `desperation' written all over the faces of all the players, but one. Russell Wiley does his best throughout to hold a poker-face from power lunches where he gives nothing away to office interruptions where he coddles a few employees instead of saying: `You're Fired'. It's a tightrope for sure.

Russell Wiley is the quiet and calculated monitor caught up in a soul-crushing existence and his story has the ring of a Kitty Kelly tell-all biography, but this one covers the newsroom and not just a person. The sad truth of Russell Wiley though, is that he does exist -- and is the current profile of so many thirty / fourty something's caught too far gone in a business that's about to slip over a perimeter and disappear for good, taking all hands with them. The real-life edge and details make a person think about the message as much as the story.

Hine is definitely not the first person to tell us that the publishing world `has heard the chimes at midnight', but has done so in a very captivating but derisive manner. I couldn't help but catch glimpses of Bret Easton Ellis's `American Psycho' as I read this, but this is the book Mr. Ellis would've written if he was still serious about writing and not just dumping his trash on us.

Russell Wiley is the aged yuppie that has settled down and found his back against the wall and surrounded by hungry up-starts and buffoons rather than the sharks of yesteryear. He has become the larger, slow moving ageing shark in a tank full of docile and self-obsessed lesser life forms.

The action and pace of this book is the atmosphere, the reality and the true to life commentary like many other great novels of this type. This is not a whodunit, or a crime-scene investigation, so don't expect that.

Having recently re-read Atlas Shrugged, I couldn't help but see parallels with the story as Russell Wiley travels some of the same ground as the beloved Dagny Taggart. This is the search for self as well as a safe way out the door.

I look forward to a follow-up novel from Mr. Hine - and I don't say that about many writers these days.

...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The rise and fall of Russell Wiley, 1 Jan 2011
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This review is from: Russell Wiley Is Out to Lunch (Kindle Edition)
Russell Wiley is frustrated by the way office life at his declining Chronicle revolves around recycling old ideas in new management speak instead of trying genuinely fresh ideas. At home he is frustrated by the lack of desire his wife has for him. Meanwhile work offers the only highlight of his day through his Reggie Perrin style fantasies of a colleague named Erica. Then Russell has an idea to save the company, unfortunately his boss Henry isn't listening; he's got a 'consultant' in to advise the team.

This is an entertaining read for fans of The Office and anyone who works in one, as Russell takes up the reins of leadership and gallops Unicorn style into the fray to save the Chronicle! He also tries to buck the system via his alter ego, Christopher Finchley, who writes for Vicious Circle magazine (a magazine with an apt title where he can express his true feelings safe in the knowledge that no one knows that it's him!). A good, fun read with satirical moments of truth reflecting office life.
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