Initially, Calvin Kasulke’s debut novel seems like an absurdist take on the remote worker’s sense of being disembodied — by making it literal. It is that, but also a great deal more. Several People Are Typing is consistently smart and hilarious, which is harder than it seems. It also makes innovative use of the pervasive tools and lifestyles of the modern office. How is it that this novel is a satire in which nothing seems to be exaggerated? Recommended By Keith M., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
A work-from-home comedy where WFH meets WTF.
An absurd, hilarious romp through the haunted house of late-stage capitalism. — Carmen Maria Machado, author of In the Dream House
Told entirely through clever and captivating Slack messages, this irresistible, relatable satire of both virtual work and contemporary life is The Office for a new world.
Gerald, a mid-level employee of a New York-based public relations firm has been uploaded into the company's internal Slack channels — at least his consciousness has. His colleagues assume it's an elaborate gag to exploit the new work-from home policy, but now that Gerald's productivity is through the roof, his bosses are only too happy to let him work from... wherever he says he is.
Faced with the looming abyss of a disembodied life online, Gerald enlists his co-worker Pradeep to help him escape, and to find out what happened to his body. But the longer Gerald stays in the void, the more alluring and absurd his reality becomes.
Meanwhile, Gerald's colleagues have PR catastrophes of their own to handle in the real world. Their biggest client, a high-end dog food company, is in the midst of recalling a bad batch of food that's allegedly poisoning Pomeranians nationwide. And their CEO suspects someone is sabotaging his office furniture. And if Gerald gets to work from home all the time, why can't everyone? Is true love possible between two people, when one is just a line of text in an app? And what in the hell does the: dusty-stick: emoji mean?
Hilarious, irreverent, and wholly original, Calvin Kasulke's Several People Are Typing is both a cutting satire of the absurdity of working on-line, and a perfect antidote to the way we live now.
"An existential romp with a wicked sense of humor, Calvin Kasulke's debut novel is a Greek chorus of modern strife, a workplace of woebegone souls. It asks the important questions, like what it means to be a person, but also, what it means to be a gif. Several People Are Typing is a dirge for bureaucracy told by one of the funniest new writers @here." Hilary Leichter, author of Temporary
"Several People Are Typing is the first novel I've read that feels written of, about, and inside the internet. With cursed spreadsheets, pregnant lizards, backchannel smack-talk: dusty_sticks:, and the creepiest gifs in American literature, Calvin Kasulke doesn't just commit to the bit; the bit commits to him. If you've ever felt imprisoned by work, the internet, or your mortal body, buy this book twice." Tony Tulathimutte, author of Private Citizens
"A brilliant, laugh-out-loud funny slice of unglued genius about the triumphs and tyranny of the online workplace. Deliciously weird and wonderfully real, Several People Are Typing is a must-read for anyone who's ever suspected that the people on the other side of the screen are not all there." Max Barry, bestselling author of Lexicon and Providence
"Calvin Kasulke knows what makes a spooky story good. Questions like: Is that thing real? Is he possessed? What otherworldly realm is this? Where are those wolves howling from? And the scariest: Did I reply-all? Finding human connection in disembodied Slack chat, Several People Are Typing makes the impossible seem possible." Helen Ellis, bestselling author of American Housewife and Bring Your Baggage and Don't Pack Light
"[An] extremely meta debut novel that feels like just the right amount of triggering after working from home for the last 17 months." Nylon
About the Author
CALVIN KASULKE is a writer based in Brooklyn, New York. A Lambda Literary Fellow, his writing and reporting have been featured in VICE, BuzzFeed, and Electric Literature. This is his first book.