Review of Corporate Porn:
David S. Grant's Corporate Porn represents a bright new entrant to the unnamed genre of fiction from writers like Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk. This genre could be thought of differentially as black humor, satire, deadpan character study, and a dash of existentialism. Though no one has yet to put a name on it, Grant is throwing his lot in with the vibe of some of the very best 21st century American fiction.
It does bear some mention that Grant's work, as with the aforementioned and more popular authors, is highly male-centric. This is not important of itself, but in the context of an academic (and increasingly, intellectual) community that is skewed toward women, it is significant. Not to climb a rusty and dull old soapbox, but I cannot imagine a worse intellectual climate than one controlled exclusively by women. Or, if you prefer, any single gender.
That being said, Corporate Porn is very successful at tapping into the same skeptical, sarcastic, and bitterly funny undertone of other stories of its type. The main character, Trevor, melds so completely with the reader that it might as well be the flustered voice of reason inside us all that, having been ignored for so long, has finally begun to crack under the pressure of insane "real life".
Grant uses old-hat narrative tricks like recurrent phrases and deadpan dialogue delivery to maximum effect. The fact that he did not invent this narrative style does nothing to detract from how effective it is. The narrative is highly visual, even tactile. There is something appropriate about a story that feels like you're slamming your head against a cheap pressboard doorjamb (in a good way, of course, since that's what Trevor's doing). Despite the title, there is fairly little in the book about actual pornography, and only a moderate amount of corporate banter. Nonetheless, the environment of the story is one very much alive with human interaction portrayed with a heavy and refreshing dose of sometimes-hilarious realism. My favorite scenes involved Trevor riding a public bus, an activity which, in a big city, is very much the way in reality that Grant described it.
What really sticks out is the absurdity of Trevor's life in the context of his friends. A sentiment that, no doubt, those of us born after 1975 can relate to the same way our parents related to... oh, hell, flower power or something. There is not a great way to describe how generational this book feels, but it does. I would be interested in getting the reaction from an older audience to this book, because so much of it feels like a Gen X inside joke. I think it is a little unbecoming to gush too much over a work like this, since that's obviously the very thing that the author despises, so I'll keep my qualitative comments to this: I couldn't put it down.
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David S. Grant is the author of BLOOD: The New Red. Follow David on Twitter: .david_s_grant