I'm excited to be doing some events this month.
First up is at Washington University in St. Louis, where I'll be reading from and talking about Personal Days. That's on Thursday 9/20 at 8:00 at Hurst Lounge. Details here.
Then there are back-to-back dates in NYC:
¶ On Thursday 9/27 at the Asian American Writers' Workshop (110 W. 27th St., Suite 600), I'll be reading with Katie Kitamura, author of The Longshot and the new novel Gone to the Forest. More details to follow.
¶ The following evening (Friday 9/28 at 7 p.m.) I'll be talking to Antoine Wilson about his new novel, Panorama City, at McNally Jackson (52 Prince St.).
Sunday, June 3, 2012
PERSONAL DAYS, DESPERATE NIGHTS: A Reading with Ed Park, Jon Michaud, S. J. Rozan, and S. A. Solomon A reading with Ed Park, author of the multi-award-winning novel Personal Daysand the founding editor of the Believer; Jon Michaud, author of When Tito Loved Clara (set in Inwood and named as Barnes & Noble Review’s Year’s Best Reading 2011); S. J. Rozan, editor of Bronx Noir; and S. A. Solomon, contributor to New Jersey Noir. Click here for more info.
Paul La Farge reviews Sergio de la Pava's tremendous new novel A Naked Singularity for the Barnes & Noble Review—and slips in a nice reference to Personal Days:
De la Pava has been compared to the novelist William Gaddis, a great renderer of American speech in all its odd registers, and the comparison isn't inapt: the comma-free prose of A Naked Singularity feels almost embarrassingly contemporary, as if we were watching a new literary norm hatch from its egg. De la Pava's long courtroom scenes, told mostly in dialogue, also recall Gaddis's comic novel A Frolic of His Own, except that where Gaddis entertained the reader with the absurdity of civil procedure (my favorite instance of this being the lawsuit brought by the Episcopal Church against the Pepsi-Cola Corporation for trademark infringement, on the grounds that "Pepsi-Cola" is an anagram of "Episcopal"), Casi's story vibrates with grim intensity. Years and lives are on the line; one of the things A Naked Singularity captures best is Casi's perpetual overcommitment, his impossible attempt to do right by too many people who, too much of the time, can't do right by themselves. There are a number of good novels about work (Ed Park's Personal Days, for example) but not so many about overwork, and this is one of them.
The sidebar has links to de la Pava's novel, Gaddis's A Frolic of His Own, Infinite Jest, and PD. Heyyy—I'll take it!™
Sunday, April 15, 2012
From Anton Steinpilz's "First-Person Corporate," in The New Inquiry:
It might be, however, that Tretyakov’s biography of the object was an idea whose time had not yet come and may now only be just arriving. Specifically needed was development in the direction of what has come to be termed “post-Fordist” relations of production, in which value inheres no longer in goods primarily but in information and services. Within such relations, labor becomes immaterial, and Tretyakov’s conveyor belt doesn’t so much disappear as attenuate and ramify, becoming more a mediating trope than a real mechanism. In the novel Personal Days (2008), author Ed Park offers a spirited send-up of postmillennial, post-Fordist office drudgery. The final section consists of an enormous e-mail composed on a laptop by a character named Jonah while he is trapped in an elevator. The correspondence, addressed to a former colleague of Jonah’s named Pru, ends with this arresting observation:
You said yourself, once, waiting for stuff by the asthmatic printer, that the office generates at least one book, no, one novel every day, in the form of correspondence and memos and reports, all the reams of numbers, hundreds of sentences, thousands of words, but no one has the mind to understand it, no one has the eyes to take it all in, all these potential epics, War and Peace lying in between the lines [...]
Here Park manages to articulate a narrative point of view you might call first-person corporate — which, incidentally, he marshals throughout the whole of Personal Days to great effect, giving new impetus and texture to Dilbertian anomie. The resonances with Tretyakov’s biography of the object are obvious; but whereas Tretyakov points toward overcoming workers’ alienation, Park simply characterizes such alienation in terms consistent with 21st-century work life. Tretyakov imagines a novel without a hero. Park imagines one without a reader.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
In a couple weeks, I'll be reading twice—
1) On Monday, April 23, at 7 p.m., I'll be appearing at the First Person Plural series at Shrine World Music Venue (2271 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., near 134th St.), along with Tiphanie Yanique (HOW TO ESCAPE FROM A LEPER COLONY) and the playwright Bathsheba Doran (KIN). More info here, and good directions here.
2) And on Wednesday, April 25, at 6:30—a mere two nights later!—I'll join Hannah Tinti and David Rakoff for Columbia Magazine's second annual LIT night. It's at the Columbia Alumni Center, 622 113th St. (between Broadway and Riverside). (Click above for free reservations.)
I plan on reading new material—we'll see how that goes. It might be old material. It might be rarities. It's a mystery at this point!
Ben Godby gets attacked by books, including Personal Days—fortunately, he doesn't mind:
"Personal Days" by Ed Park: This book was laugh-out-loud funny, but also incredibly insightful into the office-worker experience. There's something really dirty about insights into the experience of working in an office, like it's something we all know we shouldn't be doing even though we're doing it, but that's just that and let's live with it and laugh along with Ed Park. The story is told in various parts, at first in a sort of royal-we of a particular team in a company that is being re-structured into non-existence, then as a sort of legal document showing snippets of silliness as the team collapses, and finally in an enormous essay written by one of the team members that lacks a period key on his keyboard about how he uncovered a certain mystery in the office. There's a lot of almost mysticism in this book: the people that leave the office sort of die, or sort of come back as weird mutated versions of themselves. Amazingly good.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
I'll be reading twice this spring:
1. On April 23 at 7 p.m., I'll be joining Bathsheba Doran and Tiphanie Yanique for the First Person Plural series at Shrine (2271 Adam Clayton Blvd.) More info here.
2. A few days later I will be somewhere else, I think around the Columbia campus—details soon!