Tonight at 7! PERSONAL DAYS reading, signing, discussion!
I'll be reading from Personal Days at McNally Robinson (52 Prince St.) tonight at 7...then I'll be talking about the making of the novel with my editor, Julia Cheiffetz...and then signing...
Come pick up a copy (if you haven't) and say hi...
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.
II. Levi's got another installment of Oblomov-Personal Days affinities! Which is which?
(A) Maxine's new outfit was completely inappropriate for winter, in fact for any season or situation. It had two kinds of pink going on, and ornate beaded strappy things, and a fairly explicit bondage motif. There were parallelograms of exposed flesh that were illegal in most states, a bow in the back that looked like a winding key. One area involved fur. Her hair had a fresh-from-salon bounce that clashed with the rest of the getup, but this being Maxine, everything kind of went together in the end. . . . Pru and Lizzie instinctively flinched. They might as well have been rolling on the ground like bowling pins, with xs for eyes.
(B) The brother tip-toed into the room and responded to Oblomov's greeting with a triple bow. His tunic was tightly buttoned from top to bottom so that it was impossible to tell whether he was wearing any linen underneath. His tie was knotted with a single knot and the ends were tucked inside the tunic. He was about forty with a tuft of hair sticking straight up from his brown and with two identical tufts sprouting, wild and untended, from each temple, resembling nothing so much as the ears of an average-sized dog. His gray eyes never settled on their target directly, but only after some stealthy reconnoitering in its vicinity.
III. And! Neon thumbs!
Personal Days is featured on BBC 6's George Lamb show today—you can listen here. The discussion with books person Ernest Hemingway (her real name?) begins just before the 1 hour mark (you can press on the "play" button to fast-forward to 56:30 minutes or so).
GL: "It's The Office!"
EH: "It's slightly even cleverer...I'd even say Kafka-esque."
"Anyone who's sat at a computer and wondered what the hell they're sitting there for would enjoy this." —Ernest Hemingway
When asked how many thumbs up she would give PD, she says: "I would have two neon thumbs up!"
IV. UPDATE: The NYT's Urban Eye picks up on tonight's appearance!
BOOKSLiterary 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.