Darkly funny account of the office worker’s mindset by the celebrated French novelist
A long-suffering employee in a big corporation has summoned up the courage to ask for a raise. But as he runs through the looming encounter in his mind, his neuroses come to the surface: What is the best day to see the boss? What if he doesn’t offer you a seat when you go into his office?
The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise is a hilarious account of an employee losing his identity—and possibly his sanity—as he tries to put on the most acceptable face for the corporate world,with its rigid hierarchies and hostility to new ideas. If he follows a certain course of action, so this logic goes, he will succeed—but, in accepting these conditions, are his attempts to challenge his world of work doomed from the outset?
Neurotic and pessimistic, yet endearing, comic and never less than entertaining, Perec’s Woody Allen-esque underling presents an acute and penetrating vision of the world of office work, as pertinent today as it was when it was written in 1968.
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About the Author
Georges Perec (1936–82) won the Prix Renaudot in 1965 for his first novel Things: A Story of the Sixties, and went on to exercise his unrivalled mastery of language in almost every imaginable kind of writing, from the apparently trivial to the deeply personal. He composed acrostics, anagrams, autobiography, criticism, crosswords, descriptions of dreams, film scripts, heterograms, lipograms, memories, palindromes, plays, poetry, radio plays, recipes, riddles, stories short and long, travel notes, univocalics, and, of course, novels. Life A User’s Manual, which draws on many of Perec’s other works, appeared in 1978 after nine years in the making and was acclaimed a masterpiece to put beside Joyce’s Ulysses. It won the Prix Médicis and established Perec’s international reputation.
David Bellos is Professor of French and Comparative Literature and Director of the Program in Translation and Intercultural Communication at Princeton University. In 2005 Bellos was awarded the Man Booker International Translator’s Prize for his many translations of the novels of the distinguished Albanian writer Ismail Kadare. He is the author of several works on Balzac, the prize-winning biography Georges Perec: A Life in Words, and a biography of Romain Gary, published in 2010.