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Perfect Tense

3.45  ·  Rating details ·  38 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
The anonymous, middle-aged narrator of Perfect Tense is a man broken on the wheel of office life - the great beige wheel of grinding routine, the uniform grey carpets, the endless buff envelopes. Driven by the entropy of the office, out of step with the zeitgeist, he has begun to question his whole generation, and his own empty, under-achieved life in particular. Recountin ...more
Hardcover, 176 pages
Published February 15th 2001 by Jonathan Cape
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Tosh
Jul 05, 2009 rated it really liked it
Just following my Bracewell obsession, and this book didn't disappoint me at all. The main subject I guess would be boring. The exact details of working in an office somewhere close to the West End of London. Again, like his other books, you can taste the city by just smelling the page - but beyond that this book is more of a critique on modern life than anythng else. Very detailed and focus on the details, yet never boring. He actually makes boredom somewhat an aesthethic practice.

If Guy Debord
...more
Delphine
Jan 29, 2012 rated it liked it
This novel has been sitting on my desk for a few months now. Although I finished it a couple of weeks ago, I'm still unable to create a mental picture of the main character. A bored office clerk with no name, an 'anti-hero', grey and bland as can be. "The author did a good job on character development then", one could argue, but I tend to disagree.

The novel depicts office life in the most cruel way: in all its small and irrelevant details, blown up to gigantic proportions by the employees who w
...more
Michael Scott
Nov 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: thought
What would be the right way to convey the non-story of a continuous, draining, boring office routing, where "everyone is totally dedicated to their work" fails and the dread of eating tuna sandwiches "every day, five days a week, for so many years, etc, etc" kicks in? Certainly, not Perfect Tense.

Although Michael Bracewell tries to write about boredom (comparisons with The Book of Disquiet should end here), Perfect Tense turns out to be a boring work of wordiness and participation, and thus fak
...more
Jim Coughenour
Oct 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: office workers; mystics manqué
Shelves: bleakfiction
I can certainly understand the low ratings this book has received from other readers – a whole novel ostensibly about the ennui and minute degradations of office life – the petty politics, mind-numbing routines and ugly spaces where the most haunting creature is a spider plant. A tone poem of alienation, etc. But for me the book had the opposite effect. I found its desolation weirdly moving – I'm tempted to describe it as a demotic version of Fernando Pessoa's Book of Disquiet – which is admitte ...more
Kris Fernandez-everett
Oct 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: hardcopy
very well written -- and the observations of the life under glass of the modern office were spot on. I imagine my days at the office as taking place in a sort of diorama, where the setting is real only within the confines of the box. when you move without, it's almost with a listlessness borne as much of the ennui absorbed in the diorama as the overpowering nature of the life outside that proceeded without you. highly recommended.
Kristie
Apr 20, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Someone in need of career direction
Thought provoking. Highly recommend it to those slightly disillusioned about work, career and what these two things mean to us office workers these days. The writing makes you feel like you're really in the head of the main character.
Cecily
May 30, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: humour
The musings of a 40-something's wasted office life, more of an observer than a participant. He describes his hobby/ambition as being a "urban anthropologist". Set mostly in 80s/90s London. It captures a mood, but feels as listless as the life described.
Martinxo
Nov 07, 2007 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: sleepy communters
Despite lavish praise on the cover from Jonathan Coe, David Lode and Morrissey, i put this book down at page 58 and fell promptly asleep.
Yarb
Nov 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
A sospirific, epiphanic psalm of office life, expertly articulating the incoherent pathos of late C20 white-collar drudgery.
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