- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Jonathan Cape (22 May 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0224082418
- ISBN-13: 978-0224082419
- Product Dimensions: 14.3 x 2.2 x 22.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,722,033 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Personal Days Hardcover – 22 May 2008
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` "scathingly funny"... look at office workers who have no idea what the unnamed corporation they work for actually does' -- Bookseller
`Park's wry look at lives ruled by unreliable computers and bad coffee speaks volumes about the choices we make in the name of ambition' -- The Times
`Smartly of-the-moment, this is office life at its best and worst'
'Anyone missing Joshua Ferris' Then We Came To The End should pick up this novel' -- Esquire
'amusingly spare, yet soon becomes something much darker, aspiring perhaps to the unblinking horror of Joseph Heller's [...] Something Happened' -- The List
'chilling, compulsive, and hilarious' -- Elle
'pitch-perfect comic vignettes of working life [...] Park has strayed into Ricky Gervais' territory and may soon be its king'
'the narrative, a DeLillo-like, pellet-sized series of vignettes...an evocation of the paranoid weirdness of office life' -- Arena
'The Office' meets Don DeLillo in this hilarious debut novel by the founding editor of The Believer.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
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Both books are mildly humorous, covering the intricate social world of office life, and both writers adopt the same devices throughout. There are firings, difficulties with computers and "I.T. Guys", thefts of post-it notes, exiled staff in remote corners, nervous breakdowns. People have mysterious personal lives which cause gossip among colleagues. Emails are mistakenly sent "reply all" causing embarrassment. More successful companies threaten take-overs, new management impose new disciplines which the staff spend their time trying to get round, etc, etc, etc (hard to suppress a yawn at this point).
Far from finding these books humorous, they were actually both rather depressing. Jokes about problems with Microsoft Word, or how voice recognition programs come up with funny text are not exactly original and sound better in the real-life context of work rather than written down on the page - we've heard them all before anyway. I used to work in an office and there are things to recognise here, but why on earth would one want to read about it in leisure time having just escaped for the daily commute home? The blurb writers say that this book has "Kafkaesque plot, full of the tedium of corporate life". While totally disagreeing with the "Kafkaesque", the book is certainly full of the tedium of corporate life".
There were too many non-distinct characters in "Personal Days", jokes were spread too thinly, and perhaps this is indicative of American office life but the whole thing was just several degrees less believable to me. The 'big reveal' at the end, all told through one single massive e-mail, is probably the highlight and worth waiting for, but during the first three quarters of the book the complete lack of action or apparent job responsibility by the entire staff seems oddly contrived.
That said it does have some good moments and in parts it's rather sweet. If you work in an office and want some comfort about how bad things could've been, you might relate to this, but it doesn't completely hit the mark.
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