There’s a bizarre poetry in my Internet access going down for a couple of hours as I was writing this (Comcastic!), since technology contributes quite a bit to the dysfunction of the fictional New York office that provides the setting for Ed Park’s masterful satire of end-of-empire corporate America, “Personal Days.” Self-Googling, eBaying, time-wasting emailing and plain old tech problems fill the days of the group of youngish co-workers, who are otherwise preoccupied with the Kremlinesque downsizing machinations of management, prodded by a mysterious new ownership in California. Park’s novel, short on plot but long on laughs, sits comfortably within the growing body of workplace send-ups, and will find an audience among fans of “The Office” and “Office Space.” But how did Park, who spends his time as an editor at the decidedly non-corporate The Believer magazine and the Poetry Foundation, develop such spot-on insights into corporate malaise? He spent ten years at the Village Voice until it was taken over by New Times, a media chain from the West, which wasted little time in cutting Park and other key creators loose in its cost-cutting and cookie-cutting zeal. Revenge served cold indeed. (Brian Hieggelke)
Ed Park reads from “Personal Days” at the Book Cellar, 4736-38 North Lincoln, on June 5 at 7pm.