**spoiler alert** This book follows a man during a typical day of his life and through his interactions with people, his sometimes cynical and sometim**spoiler alert** This book follows a man during a typical day of his life and through his interactions with people, his sometimes cynical and sometimes elated observations about life, his random rants about different topics, we slowly get a complete picture of who he is.
He is a gay man during the 60s …
Do they know that they are afraid? No. But they are very afraid. What are they afraid of? They are afraid of what they know is somewhere in the darkness around them, of what may at any moment emerge into the undeniable light of their flash-lamps, nevermore to be ignored, explained away. The fiend that won’t fit into their statistics, the Gorgon that refuses their plastic surgery, the vampire drinking blood with tactless uncultured slurps, the bad-smelling beast that doesn’t use their deodorants, the unspeakable that insists, despite all their shushing, on speaking its name. Among many other kinds of monster, George says, they are afraid of little me. Mr. Strunk, George supposes, tries to nail him down with a word. Queer …
A local newspaper editor has started a campaign against sex deviates (by which he means people like George). They are everywhere, he says; you can’t go into a bar any more, or a men’s room, or a public library, without seeing hideous sights. And they all, without exception, have syphilis. The existing laws against them, he says, are far too lenient.
Despite everything (the loneliness and grief after the death of his long-time partner) he is still at times overjoyed with being alive.
George is very far, right now, from sneering at any of these fellow creatures. They may be crude and mercenary and dull and low, but he is proud, is glad, is almost indecently gleeful to be able to stand up and be counted in their ranks—the ranks of that marvelous minority, The Living. They don’t know their luck, these people on the sidewalk, but George knows his—for a little while at least—because he is freshly returned from the icy presence of The Majority, which Doris is to join. I am alive, he says to himself, I am alive! And life-energy surges hotly through him, and delight, and appetite. How good to be in a body—even this beat-up carcass—that still has warm blood and semen and rich marrow and wholesome flesh!
Well, after this collection of interactions, speeches, trips to various locations and his thoughts on life while at each place (the supermarket, the trail on the hill, the gym, the bar, the beach …) we have a complete picture of him and he seems content when finally going to bed and falling asleep, still rather drunk.
Now the author starts to speak of him and his body in this objective way …
WITHIN this body on the bed, the great pump works on and on, needing no rest. All over this quietly pulsating vehicle the skeleton crew make their tiny adjustments. As for what goes on topside, they know nothing of this but danger signals, false alarms mostly: red lights flashed from the panicky brain stem, curtly contradicted by green all clears from the level-headed cortex. But now the controls are on automatic. The cortex is drowsing; the brain stem registers only an occasional nightmare.
The author is speaking of his death in a vague sort of way saying “maybe”, “perhaps”, “what if ” and so on as he describes the body’s organs failing.
Let us suppose this, merely. (The body on the bed is still snoring.) This thing is wildly improbable. You could bet thousands of dollars against its happening, tonight or any night. And yet it could, quite possibly, be about to happen—within the next five minutes. Very well —let us suppose that this is the night, and the hour, and the appointed minute. Now.
And then, in the final sentences, presumably, he dies in his sleep and it’s all over.
It’s the sort of book you finish reading and you might think to yourself. Well that was a bit odd, but enjoyable, but well, what was the point? The strange ending that tries to avoid, with it’s language, telling you that he is dying certainly contributes to this lost feeling after completing the book. It’s not a bad book. It had some very good bits that made you think, that entertained … but it failed to tie up the ending in a satisfactory way.
I can’t help comparing it to the movie in which they made him a much more serious and depressed man who is all day planning his suicide and saying his silent goodbyes to everything and everyone as he pretends to go about his day normally. Then, having found some joy and reasons for living in the end he doesn’t kill himself but peacefully lays down to bed and dies tragically of a heart attack. I prefer that....more
You may remember when I read Machine Man by Max Barry and I remember it being enjoyable. I decided I need something lighthearted to read right now andYou may remember when I read Machine Man by Max Barry and I remember it being enjoyable. I decided I need something lighthearted to read right now and what better than some crafty satire.
This is the story of a strange Company in which nobody really knows what the company does and everyone’s job sort of folds back into the company. The sales reps sell training packages to the rest of the departments. Infrastructure management charges everyone for management in the building, charging departments for the use of windows and computers and phone lines.
Since there is a pay freeze Jones gets hired on in Sales but on paper it says that he is, well, paper. A purchase of paper.
Jones gets curious about the oddities of the company and starts to seek answers but he is told a parable about monkey’s in a lab that is meant to discourage his curiosity.
A large part of the beginning of the book focuses not on Jones but on the other characters in the sales office. A man who won’t stop obsessing over who took his doughnut, a woman who falls in love with her customers up until the deal is done, another woman who works out in the gym all day, a man who is secretly in love with the beautiful receptionist on the ground floor, etc. etc.
It isn’t until Jones finally figures out whats really going on in the company that his story becomes central to the book.
It’s a light and easy read, fun for anybody who has ever suffered in a cubicle farm in a windowless room all day. It’s a satirical examination of how evil big companies can be to their employees and why having one of these jobs really sucks the soul out of you.
I really enjoyed reading Company but the ending was a little lacking. It built up to a huge shit-hits-the-fan, let’s-start-a-riot moment and then just cut off and went to a One-Year-Later situation. Not the worst way to write an ending and I know its really hard to write endings but I felt like it was a bit of a cop-out.
Still glad I read it and it’s still a four star rating from me. I like this author a lot and will probably read another of his before long....more
What a strange book. The author is not very good. She contradicts herself in confusing ways. This is a very preachy feminist novel. It's like readingWhat a strange book. The author is not very good. She contradicts herself in confusing ways. This is a very preachy feminist novel. It's like reading Atlas Shrugged but instead of heated sex scenes there seems to be a message of sex being ... low and undesirable. I'm not sure what she was trying to say about sex. And instead of rampant selfishness and capitalism you get the damnation of the entire male sex. And fortunately, instead of a big fat long-winded novel you get a pretty short little story.
I appreciate what women like Gilman did back in her day and realize that it's always the extremists that make a difference in the world but reading through this feminist sermon was a drag. In any case, I mean to say that it's good to be reminded of what women lived through in the past and feel gratitude towards them. ...more