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Review-a-Day
Esquire
Wednesday, May 12th, 2004


 

Kings of Infinite Space: A Novel

by James Hynes

Life at Work

A review by Adrienne Miller

Paul Trilby's life couldn't really get any more pathetic. Once an on-the-rise academic (he was a finalist for a Guggenheim! he keeps reminding everybody, he was a Fulbright runner-up!) he is now a lowly office temp worker for the Texas Department of General Services (the horrid TxDoGS), a luckless driver of a "farting" Colt, and a dater of a mailroom worker who seems to prefer the Norton Anthology to him. To add insult to injury, Paul is being haunted by the ghost of his ex-wife's dead cat. And for good reason: He murdered the cat, Charlotte, although his memory is "deliberately vague about the reasons for his murderous rage at the cat, but he did remember that he was responsible for her death by drowning in his bathtub." Charlotte's ghost does bad things to Paul's pitiful, loserish apartment (which "reeked relentlessly of cat pee"). Then she moves onto his office, where she causes much bigger trouble. Eventually Paul finds himself doing business with zombies. This macabre, funny, and very twisted satire of office life displays James Hynes (the author of Publish and Perish) as a wonderfully eccentric and entirely original writer.


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