Napoleon couldn't conquer Britain. Neither could Hitler. But the Blackberry (tm) has accomplished what neither of these maniacs could. What's worse, it brought with it the bilge of American corpo-speak and created in its wake cadres of globalist, Golf-worshiping business-types. As a result, the land of Shakespeare has educated people running around spouting rubbish like "best in class," "core competencies," and "benchmarking."
Lucy Kellaway's recent e-mail novel, Who Moved My Blackberry, creates a laff-riot by tracing a year in the life of one Martin Lukes, proud author of the concept of "Creovation" (tm).Completing the circle of Martin's e-mails, there's his executive coach, his wife, his kids, his mum, a succession of secretaries, drinking buddies, and all the other characters that cling to corporate life like barnacles on a tramp steamer. There's even the unscrupulous American multinational C.E.O., the skeevie Barry Malone, who signs off every e-mail with "I love you all."
It works because even though Martin is pathetic, he's also a fighter. He's fighting for absurd, ridiculous things, but on he goes. The fact that he's a Brit so completely under siege by American corporate B.S. makes him a great comic character of our time. He deserves to be squashed, but as if in celebration of his mediocrity, he just keeps rising. Kellaway's pacing is beautiful. She sets up her gags perfectly, delivers them, and gets out. The gimmick of all e-mail may not be totally original, but it fits this satire like a Hickey-Freeman suit or a pair of Johnston-Murphy tassel loafers. If you need a fix of The Office but aren't near a TV, pick this one up.
'Til next time... Ken Krimstein Mr. Krimstein is a writer, cartoonist, father, and grump who lives in New York City. So there.