Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bank - David Bledin



Bank
David Bledin
Back Bay Books

Novel/Satire (or truth, if you’ve lived it)

Meet the new crop of analysts who work at the Bank in Mergers & Acquisitions. There’s the Prodigal Son, who very clearly got the job by virtue of being spawned by one of the Bank’s executives. There’s Mumbles, our narrator, who is starry-eyed and hopeful until too many all-nighters leave him bleary-eyed and stressed. There’s Clyde, who, rumor has it, doesn’t really need the job because his father is some construction magnate. There’s the Star, who was clearly born with an innate understanding of the complexities of a 200-spreadsheet Excel document and apparently doesn’t need sleep. Postal Boy is developing an eye tick and looks minutes away from achieving his nickname. And, the Defeated One, in his second year of servitude to the Bank, kept lashed to his desk by a high-maintenance girlfriend and a burgeoning coke habit.

Sound like any office you know? Then let me add in the Sycophant (VP of climbing up everyone’s arse,) the Utterly Incompetent Assistant who keeps her job by keeping the Philandering Managing Director happy. All of these people and hundreds more toil for the Bank. The analysts, fresh out of college, simply hope to survive their two years before ascending the corporate ladder or heading back to school for their MBA. For people outside the pressure cooker of the Bank, their complaints sound like whining and their cancelled weekend and evening plans like excuses. For those inside, though, the pressure is spiking.

Anyone who has ever worked in an office or cubicle farm will find characters and situations here that resonate. The growing dissatisfaction; wondering if this is as good as it gets; the hope for advancement into a slightly nicer cubicle; all should be familiar to anyone in business. This novel is like the movie “Office Space,” just a bit smarter, and with humor that’s more dry and dark. That the author references the movie is no coincidence. Following the exploits of Mumbles, Clyde, Postal Boy, and the Defeated One will bring with it either a wave of nostalgia, a feeling of relief that it’s all behind you now, or, if you’re a business student, quite possibly a dawning sense of terror.

Rating: 8
May 2007
ISBN# 978-0-316-01673-5

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