Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Nick Paumgarten, one of my favorite New Yorker writers, has a beautiful story about commuting in a recent issue. His elegant descriptions of something as mundane as driving a car back and forth everyday are really haunting, and his musings on the daily grind ("tedium broken by episodes of aggravation and despair") are certainly reminiscent of Cheever. Descriptions of modern-day offices have more than just an overtone of Orwell: "He slipped in through a side door and into his office; it was a little like going into a motel. There was no one around to greet him or to make small talk.
“Here are some of our products,” he said, showing me svelte ergonomic containers for soup (Campbell’s Soup at Hand) and dog treats (Pup-peroni to Go). There was a watercolor of his kids over his desk. We went to get a cup of coffee. A few lab workers in hairnets wandered about in the corridors. In the kitchen, a TV was playing an ad for Ambien."

Good lord, that's some good writin'.


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