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Company Reviewed

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Company : A Novel

Max Barry’s entertaining new novel was reviewed by Stanley Bing in Sunday’s Washington Post. Bing liked the novel tremendously. Although he felt the characters were a little hollow, which undercut some of the reader’s emotional investment in their lives, the book was still “laugh-out-loud funny, its humor driven by all the pleasure that a true shock of recognition can bring.”

The New York Times also examined the novel this past weekend. The godfather of young corporate satire, Douglas Coupland, reviewed Barry’s novel and also found it engaging. He writes, that “along the way, Stephen [the novel’s protagonist] encounters an assortment of co-workers who, over the years, have been converted by Zephyr’s environment into the equivalent of human bonsai trees. Here is where the book really shines — in taking the same dreary spaces and human archetypes we all know, and distilling them down to a kind of monstrous purity.”

I’m not sure if it’s a positive or negative thing that Coupland begins his review by implying the influence his work holds for Barry. In proclaiming the novelist’s skill, the Generation X author writes, “Barry simply doesn’t provide a standardized fiction experience. Instead, he gives us something altogether different, a sort of text-based algebraic antilogic equation — one in which the square root of J. G. Ballard is divided by Monty Python, then raised to the power of Joseph Heller, plus or minus, well, uh . . . Douglas Coupland, all equaling out to the square root of negative one.”

Regardless, these are two well-earned reviews for Company. Kudos to Mr. Barry for his enjoyable novel.