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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Writing 9 To 5

Considering that most of us spend most of our time at work, it's curious that there are so few novels of office life. Now, Joshua Ferris, debutant author of the acclaimed Then We Came to the End (DeLillo-influenced, set in an advertising agency and narrated entirely in third person like Jeffrey Eugenides' The Virgin Suicides) highlights some such classics: "...there have been few singular achievements in literature more noteworthy, more time worthy, more universal despite their otherness, than "Bartleby" and The Metamorphosis. Reasons for their lasting literary merit are easy enough: invention and comedy, pathos and command of craft combine in a perfect mix in both novellas, as well as in the contemporary short stories of [George] Saunders. But another thing all three have in common, which recommends them to a special place on the office worker's bookshelf, is this: they concern themselves with the trial and toil of work itself."


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