Monday, May 12, 2008

[Book Review] COMPANY by Max Barry


Jesse Pool reviews COMPANY by Max Barry (Doubleday, 2006)

Company begins with a donut, or rather, with the absence of a donut. It's Jones' first day, and he's waiting patiently to meet the members of the training sales department where he will work while his new coworkers are hashing out who, if anyone, stole Roger's donut before he arrived to the morning meeting. Roger insists that it's not the donut, but the lack of respect that it implies.

Jones soon finds that his first job is not quite what he expects. He comes to a startling realization that he isn't even sure what it is that the company does. To the shock of his coworkers (who can't say that they know what it is that the company does, either), Jones begins a quest to find out just what it is that Zephyr Holdings does.

When Jones finally does find out, the story takes a turn for the weirder, and the book adds a Joseph-Finder-style corporate intrigue to the Scott-Adams-style corporate farce that has been going on from the beginning. The quirky characters and the dynamics between them are reminiscent of television's "The Office" as well.

Jones, unwilling to settle for "that's the way it's always been done" and "keep a low profile," ends up changing the way Zephyr Holdings, and possibly the whole business world, works. And yes, we do find out what happened to the donut.

Jesse Pool, Highland Branch Library

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