What an absolutely lovely, witty and moving workspace comedy! I really REALLY enjoyed every single word of it.
It’s 2001. The story takes place in a top Chicago advertising and marketing agency, struggling to adapt to the new internet-related market environment to stay in business basically. Which means that jobs will be lost, feelings will emerge and things that were meant to remain unsaid, might come out after all.
What is unique about this book is that the story is told by one of the employees who uses the first person plural. This, as a narrative technique, may sound like a nightmare waiting to happen, but it isn’t. Even though the “I” behind the “We” is unknown, it’s a clever way to keep the reader attached to all of the characters collectively. And this is a community of white-collar everyday heroes who are in the surviving game together, until the next guy or gal loses their job, so creating a sense of belonging and teamplay is very becoming. It certainly worked for me.
Interestingly for a book that was advertised as being laugh-out-loud funny, this novel touches on some pretty heavy issues, such as depression, compulsive disorder and cancer and you have to commend the grace and respect through which Joshua Ferris moves from topic to topic. Like a subtle ghost almost.
So, is this lough-out-loud funny after all? Not really; not literally. But the author’s delicate humour is applied generously throughout the story and I dare anybody to not laugh to “He was in Account Management, and, strange for any account person, he had hung something non-Monet on the wall”. Certain moments are hilarious and I mean HILARIOUS!
A glorious debut in my opinion. Easily lives up to the hype. ..And now I came to the end and I miss everybody at that office!