My review of Ed Park's debut novel Personal Days appears in tomorrow's New York Times Book Review. Here's the opening:
When the Spanish philosopher Miguel de Unamuno said that “work is the only practical consolation for having been born,” he could not have foreseen the lot of the 21st-century cubicle drones who populate Ed Park’s witty and appealing first novel, “Personal Days.” Today, it seems, notions of work have been transformed from “every man a king” to mass e-mailings of cat pictures
Much is likely to be made of the similarities between “Personal Days” and “Then We Came to the End,” Joshua Ferris’s 2007 National Book Award finalist. Both are set in offices convulsed with layoffs. Both are comic ensemble pieces, and both employ the first-person plural (Ferris throughout, Park in his opening section). But considering the ubiquity of the work experience in American lives, and the thousands upon thousands of novels published annually, perhaps the question shouldn’t be why there are two work-related novels right now but why there aren’t many more.
You can read the entire review here.