In Office Hours
  • In Office Hours
  • In Office Hours

In Office Hours

4.0 7
by Lucy Kellaway
     
 

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IN OFFICE HOURS is the story of Stella and Bella, two intelligent working women who each fall for impossible lovers—at work. Kellaway's keen observations on the way in which affairs move from state to state are a sort of masterclass in office love, bringing to life both the excitement of illicit romance and the ridiculousness of business behavior and language

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Overview

IN OFFICE HOURS is the story of Stella and Bella, two intelligent working women who each fall for impossible lovers—at work. Kellaway's keen observations on the way in which affairs move from state to state are a sort of masterclass in office love, bringing to life both the excitement of illicit romance and the ridiculousness of business behavior and language with a sharp sense of humor.

IN OFFICE HOURS is intelligent, funny, moving and agonizing, but it's also so painfully reconizable to any woman who has ever worked in an office or ever been in love. Kellaway hits a real nerve with her depictions of how people come to get into the emotional messes that we do and then how very difficult it is to get out again.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two women on other sides of a generational divide fall into ill-advised workplace romances in British business journalist Kellaway's latest water-cooler romp (after The Real Office). Twenty-something single mother Bella and married 40-something exec Stella slide down the slippery slope from self-deluded temptation ("it's just a fantasy," says Bella of her attraction to her balding, philandering boss, James) to slow dancing around the photocopier, as Stella dreams she does with her boyish, working-class Welsh crush. Of course, disaster looms for all involved, and while the stories sometimes take on the predestined feel of case studies, Kellaway manages a consistently funny tone as her characters handle romantic fallout in generation-appropriate fashion and confirm what they already know: too often, it's the woman who pays the price. (Feb.)
Library Journal
This debut novel by a management columnist at the Financial Times does a very good job capturing the ins and outs of a fictional London megacorporation. However, while creating characters to which readers can relate, Kellaway didn't manage to construct likable ones. Stella, a senior executive, and Bella, an administrative junior employee, both work for Atomic Energy; both find themselves involved in office romances. The novel uses a framing device to introduce the two women about two years after the main narrative takes place. The story then jumps back to the beginnings of their individual relationships, alternating narrators, with occasional crossover between the two. VERDICT The actions of the main protagonists, the reactions of the other characters, and the unfolding of the plot are utterly predictable; without a sympathetic connection to Stella and Bella, some readers may find it difficult to finish this novel. Perhaps it should be best read for its fleeting, subtle satiric touches skewering modern corporate culture.—Amy Watts, Univ. of Georgia Lib., Athens
Kirkus Reviews

The predictable cautionary tale of Stella and Bella's parallel, equally devastating office romances.

Whether you have it all like high-flying department head Stella Bradberry—with her handsome, clever husband and two children—or struggle to cope like single mother/college dropout Bella Chambers, British journalist Kellaway's twin-stranded story suggests the dangers to working women are the same: Opportunistic male colleagues will try to seduce you and the consequences will be immense. Stella succumbs to her ambitious trainee Rhys, promoting him to executive assistant as her stellar career develops at Atlantic Energy, a global company which also employs Bella as a PA to serial philanderer James Staunton. Both coolly successful Stella and feisty Bella seem incapable of resisting the stealthy intensification of their respective entanglements. As the novel progresses from Part One, Temptation, to Part Two, Addiction, so the women sleepwalk into their perilous obsessions. Kellaway, a corporate-culture specialist, convincingly captures the emotional frisson of clandestine office infatuation, but her working environment is lackluster and her characters tend toward stereotype, with the men's motivation left unexplored. One woman makes a better job of ending her doomed liaison than the other, but the tale concludes by reminding us that, when guilty of the same sin, male behavior is more easily excused than female.

Pleasant, preordained, cleverer-than-usual chick lit, though with few fresh insights.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780446565691
Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
02/07/2011
Pages:
330
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

Meet the Author

Lucy Kellaway is the management columnist at the Financial Times. She also writes a weekly management column for The Irish Times. In addition she has worked as energy correspondent, Brussels correspondent, a Lex column writer for the Financial Times, and interviewer of business people and celebrities, all with the FT. She has become well known for her pointed commentaries on the limitations of modern corporate culture. At the British Press Awards 2006 she was named Columnist of the Year.

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In Office Hours 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
The_Reading_Reviewer More than 1 year ago
At some point your misdeeds do catch up to you and regardless of whether you try to cover them up someone will find out. Office relationships at best are tricky when unmarried men and women become involved but when there are spouses involved and nosey co-workers it is not going to end well. This book is told from the perspective of Stella a rising star in the company who can't balance her work and personal life. She blames each one for taking her away from the other and punishes everyone including herself for her failures. But when she enters into a relationship with her intern the situation goes from bad to ballistic. He is young and feels that she now owes him and he does not want love as a payment. The other voice you hear is Bella a single mom who did believe she was balancing everything and that her promotions were due to her skill not her ability to keep the boss satisfied in bed. She loved him and he decived her and while she thinks throwing everything off for him is worth it he does not. You absolutely can have it all you just can't have it all at the same time, something has to give in your life and filling the void with a relationship that is nonsustainable never goes well for anyone. Stella and Bella are great characters and strong women who know when to walk away but still have trouble saying no. They are seeking a fanstasy that does not exist in the real world and it about tore their existence apart. This is a well written book that shows the raw and utter devastation that can happen when relationships go bad. So many are hurt, lives are never recovered and reputations ruined and the question always remains - for what?
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Lynie More than 1 year ago
IN OFFICE HOURS is the story of two women who work in the largest oil company in England. Stella is senior management and Bella is a personal assistant and both are engaged in affairs with co-workers. Married Stella begins an affair with Rhys, a management trainee seventeen years her junior, while Bella's affair is with her much older married boss, James, a top executive. The fallout for each of the women is vastly different because of their career standing, as well as the older woman versus the older man scenario in each of the affairs. The author infuses social commentary in the corporate treatment of the female executive and the male executive in this narrative giving IN OFFICE HOURS a little more substance than the usual chick lit. British authors have us beat hands down in the chick lit genre and IN OFFICE HOURS is the perfect example. Its funny, sad, upbeat and quirky while taking a look at the larger issue of human behavior in the corporate setting.