|My Copy||library copy|
|First Read||October 24, 2016|
This follow up from Helen DeWitt (author of one of my faves, The Last Samurai) is so different in tone and style that I tried twice to read it - but couldn't get thru it. The third time is a charm, I guess. It's billed sometimes as a 'sex comedy', although it's really more like a farce which includes really un-titillating, vaguely unsettling discussions of sex. The target here isn't sex or a culture of sex, but rather the Smarmy CEO Memoir or Business Self Help book - it's written as a retrospective by a successful businessperson who installed secret prostitutes in office restrooms as a way to cut down on sexual harassment claims in the modern office. I know.
The writing style - folksy business speak - is incredibly spot on, which makes it so painful to read. DeWitt skewers this so mercilessly and consistently, that the jokes are buried veerrrry deeply, and covered in a gooey layer of smarm and self-satisfaction.
It's incredibly different than Last Samurai, and I certainly wouldn't ever recommend it or read it again. DeWitt is really so masterful and precise with her language; I wish she'd spent that power on something less bitter.
Noted on November 13, 2016
If you’re a salesman, you have to deal with yourself the way you are. Not how you’d like to be. If you don’t have what it takes, you can waste a lot of time asking yourself “How can I get what it takes?” The question you should be asking yourself is, “Is there something else that takes what I have to offer?” Because if there’s something you can succeed at, just the way you are, you won’t have to waste a lot of time trying to change yourself. Which you’re never going to be able to do, anyway.
Quoted on November 13, 2016