Saturday, May 31, 2008
—"Read This With Ernest Hemingway," on the George Lamb show, BBC 6
Friday, May 30, 2008
"With wit and cleverness, Park delves into an anonymous NYC office filled with quirky characters and absurdly funny scenarios."
—People StyleWatch, June/July 2008
And don't forget:
Paperback Page-Turners: What every chick should have in her beach bag
“If you think Pam and Jim have it bad, try spending a day with Lizzie, Jonah, and Pru at their 'Office'-like company. You'll laugh, cringe, and thank God you don't work there.”
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
—Kathryn Joyce, "Hamlet at the Water Cooler," Newsweek [Minor spoiler alert]
"Personal Days is spot on in depicting the mundane comedy of cubicle life, the computer crashes, the office intrigues, battles over where to go for lunch, the puzzle of who owns that rotting banana in the refrigerator....Park has penned a brooding farce that glistens with a sinister frivolity." —Dayton Daily News
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Scroll through Phillip Toledano's bankrupt offices.
Bookforum on Personal Days: “[C]alls to mind Beckett and Bernhard....But the vision here is not so pessimistic, and despite all the comparisons it invites, Personal Days proves by its end to be wholly and strikingly its own.”
Saturday, May 24, 2008
"The modern corporate office is to Ed Park's debut novel Personal Days what World War II was to Joseph Heller's Catch-22—a theater of absurdity and injustice so profound as to defy all reason....Park may be in line to fill the shoes left by Kurt Vonnegut and other satirists par excellence."
Friday, May 23, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
The office is its own continent, with distinct regions, subcultures and rituals....Personal Days succeeds on Park’s sharp prose and his sensitivity to the insanities of entirely average people. By encouraging our uncomfortable laughter, he does justice to the absurdity of the office.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Welcome to the working weak: reading Personal Days—the debut novel by Ed Park, a founding editor of The Believer—is like staying late at the office, drunk on cough syrup, and coming across the diary of the person who occupied your desk a year before you did. In this intricate, hysterical novel, an unnamed New York office is being downsized according to indecipherable commands. Park's hilarious take on such cubicle routines as ordering lunch, hunting for a stapler, and joining the softball team will strike a chord with anyone who's ever done the 9-to-5, while the shocking shifts in tone perfectly convey the violence of corporate downsizing.
And from the NYT's Urban Eye:
Literary Overproductivity Alert
You may know Ed Park as an editor of The Believer or of the mysterious journal The New-York Ghost, as a poet or fledgling garage rocker. Now you can also know him as a novelist. "Personal Days," his debut, is an office comedy/whodunit about an unraveling New York workplace. Tonight this former editor at The Village Voice (a clue, perhaps?) reads at the McNally Robinson bookstore, where he'll also talk with his editor about why he likes to make other writers look so darned lazy.
From the litblog I've Been Reading Lately:
Reading Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov (1859) and Ed Park's Personal Days (2008) at the same time continues to offer unexpected (and unexpectedly rewarding) affinities. Take, for example, this bit of contemporary folklore offered up by one of Ed's charactes:
Jack II says that when you feel a tingling in your fingers, it means someone's Googling you. We take to this bit of instant folklore immediately.I wonder whether a Yahoo search triggers the same response? Or an Alta Vista search?
If Goncharov were alive today, he'd surely know the answer, if the following conversation between Oblomov's parents is any indication:Suddenly Ilya Ivanovich stopped in the middle of the room, and, with a look of alarm, touched the tip of his nose. "Oh, no, this is terrible," he said, "look, the tip of my nose is itching, there's going to be a death."
"There you go again!" his wife exclaimed, clasping her hands, "it's not the tip of your nose itching that means there's going to be a death, it's the bridge of your nose! Really, what a scatterbrain you are! What if you were to say something like that when we were visiting people or when we had guests--it would be so embarrassing!"
"Well, what does it mean then when the tip of your nose itches?" said Ilya Ivanovich, discountenanced.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Edward Champion interviews Ed Park for The Bat Segundo Show.
Listen to the clatter of silverware at the Metro Diner!
"I would be very rigorous about counting how many words I wrote in a day..."
And tomorrow (5/21): Stop by McNally Robinson, where Ed P. will read from Personal Days and talk to his editor!
1) Buy a copy of Personal Days.
2) Study the cover.
3) Form words the way you would in Boggle.
4) Delight your friends with sentences like “Don Renado, renal RNA doper, pares open one pod layer per eon.”
Monday, May 19, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
His office friends could offer little solace, he said. They are preoccupied with their own anxious limbo. Summoning the post-apocalyptic refrain, he added, "It’s like 'The living envy the dead.'" — "The Language of Loss for the Jobless," by Jan Hoffman, NYT.
Friday, May 16, 2008
People on Wall Street seem to be vanishing overnight. [...]
After the 1987 stock market crash, for example, employees were herded into conference rooms and dismissed en masse.[...]This time, companies are making many small cuts over the course of weeks or even months. Some people who have lost jobs, and many more struggling to hold them, say banks are keeping employees in the dark about the size and timing of layoffs.[...]
The idea that banks will slowly wield the knife again and again unnerves many employees. People know the cuts are coming — they just don’t know when or where.
—"For Wall Street Workers, Ax Falls Quietly," NYT
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Like Dunder Mifflin seen through Kafka’s eyes, the novel explores the distinct boredom of Cubicle Land.
Unfolding in Post-it–size passages and sections structured like software manuals, the novel takes aim at procrastination, paranoia, office supply pilfering, and computer-crashing e-mails of kittens, along with the etiquette of shared elevator rides, cigarette breaks, and after-work drinks.
Personal Days doesn’t stop at satire. Park navigates hilariously between gentle irony and genuine anguish, much like that mocking question your computer asks each night before you log off.
Are you sure you want to quit?
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I confess that I didn't buy Tallahassee; I picked it out of the "reject pile" at the office where I used to work. Here editors would deposit old magazines, books, CDs, and less classifiable artifacts on a long, chest-high filing cabinet. There was a high junk quotient, and from time to time the clutter would be swept wholesale into the nearby trash bin. But there were frequently gems, and my bookcases and — well, all my CDs are kind of swimming around in this big wicker thing — are filled with these unexpectedly momentous treasures.
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Read the rest of Jonathan Taylor’s dazzling review in Stop Smiling.
Monday, May 12, 2008
Listen to Ed talk about Personal Days on the BBC's Open Book. An actor reads from the book, and scholars talk about the history of the office novel—mentioning the Grossmiths' Diary of a Nobody and Wodehouse's Psmith in the City.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
“[Q]uite simply, brilliant....Personal Days (Jonathan Cape £12.99, pp243) follows life amid the desks of a corporation where office ways are laid bare in all their tedious and frequently hilarious detail...As much a novel as a series of pitch-perfect comic vignettes of working life, Personal Days is the ideal book to read under the table during the next staff training seminar. Park has strayed into Ricky Gervais's territory and may soon be its king.” —Francesca Segal, Observer (U.K.)
Friday, May 9, 2008
Thursday, May 8, 2008
Pre-order Personal Days!
Wednesday, May 7, 2008
Monday, May 5, 2008
Read on, at Urban Dictionary. (Via Margaret.)