The anonymous, middle-aged narrator of this story is a man for whom the routine of office life - the uniform grey carpets, the endless buff envelopes, the coffee which smells of scorched rubber - has become both a refuge and a prison. Driven by the entropy of the office, out of step with the "zeitgeist", he has begun to question his whole generation, and his own empty life in particular.
Recounting his day at the office - one particular day, which seems to mimic the coffee-mug slogan, "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" - the narrator scrutinises the arcana of his environment like an urban anthropologist, looking for aesthetic or spiritual purpose and finding only print-outs and suspension files, spider plants and polystyrene cups.
As he sifts through his memories of sandwich shops and leaving parties, the legends of colleagues' affairs and the evolution of office decor, the narrator's journey through the world of work becomes a pilgrim's progress, and the office itself an allegorical universe.
In this short, brilliant novel, we are taken on a tour of office life which is at once hilarious and profound, the comedy of recognition matched by deepening urban anxiety, as if T S Eliot had been blessed with Groucho Marx's comic timing. One man's unravelling philosophical crisis becomes a metaphysical search for order and purpose deep in the back of a desk drawer.
- Publication Date:
- 15 / 02 / 2001
- 121 x 194mm