The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise
A Verso book
Never-before-published fiction by the master novelist, this darkly funny, subversive story is also a profound examination of the psychology of the worker and the workplace.
A long-suffering employee in a big corporation has summoned up the courage to ask for a raise. But as he runs through the coming encounter in his mind, his neuroses come to the surface: What’s the best day to see the boss? What if he doesn’t offer you a seat when you go into his office? Would it be a smart move to ask about his daughter’s illness?
Never previously published, Georges Perec’s 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 ideas and innovation. 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.
- March 2011
- 4.6 × 7.3 in
/ 96 pages
- Territory Rights: USA and Dependencies and the Philippines.
Endorsements & Reviews
“A hilarious and inventive office-drone odyssey.” — Bookforum
“[A] fun read for someone who enjoys computer programming and corporate irony, and would make a perfect gift for the office mate with a good sense of humor.” — bestdamncreativewritingblog
“We readers will have to deal with the fortunate burden of clearing shelf-space for another novel by Perec this spring, with the first English translation of The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise.” — The Millions
“[A] terribly compelling work, one that does a great deal with very little. With his use of repetition, which also evokes a pre-set mechanism, Perec establishes a rhythm of sorts, while his subtle deviations from the pattern serve as moments of dark comedy.” — Slant Magazine
“As a witty indictment of corporate culture and an artifact from one of the 20th century’s most bizarre literary movements, The Art of Asking Your Boss for a Raise—as with all the works of Georges Perec—is a puzzle too absurd not to explore ... [it] will interest any reader who has ever worked in a large bureaucracy and considered himself underpaid.” — Harvard Crimson
“A brilliant … conceptual, comedic novella from the writer who wrote the postmodern masterpiece Life: A User’s Manual.” — City Arts
“We defy you to walk by this book and not pick it up. Perfectly packaged and immediately intriguing!” — LargeheartedBoy.com
“An acute and penetrating vision of the world of office work.” — Arthur