Rezia’s (Room 11, 2017, etc.) novel offers a story of corporate greed that’s part satire and part redemption tale.
Renowned author Vittal Choudhary receives a letter from editor Nuria Friedman, proposing that he write a memoir about his 15 years working for Enterprise, a defunct “corporate health consultancy,” and hinting she’ll reward him with sex if he succeeds. Their letters, a tangle of overblown prose, have a satirical feel that suggests that this will be a jaundiced, humorous novel about corporate life. After Vittal accepts the offer, what follows is his story of life at Enterprise, which is more like a cult than a business, with job titles such as “Confrère,” “Father,” and “Truth Leader.” Vittal’s hero is Peter, one of Enterprise’s top dogs, whom he renames “Peter-Moses”: “I knew that I wanted to be kissing his arse and joining his cult of self, the club of the quintessential alpha males.” This is a world of manufactured acronyms, 22-hour work days, and nonstop jet-setting. Vittal and his colleagues are people who “feared being average, being forgotten. Men who feared not fearing anymore because fear drove them.” In truth, no one at Enterprise has a clue, instead relying on instinct, nonsensical pronouncements, and parroting clients’ briefs to bluster their way to big fees. London-based author Rezia has previously worked as an investment research writer and management consultant, and her fluency in business-speak makes for realistically baffling utterances. However, it soon appears that messy verbiage is the norm throughout—a vortex of prose that spins around in circles while avoiding significant action. For example, at Enterprise, Vittal falls for two different colleagues but repeatedly fails to follow through on these feelings. Interleaved with Vittal’s tale are further letters between author and editor and a series of anonymous encounters between lovers whose identities are a mystery for readers to solve. As the plot lurches back and forth, though, the characters never come to life, and the rare moments of real drama lack sufficient impact.
An overlong novel with a shortage of insights and excess of aimless sentences.