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Debra Hamel is the mother of two preternaturally attractive girls and the author of a number of books about ancient Greece. She writes and blogs from her subterranean lair in North Haven, CT. Read more.


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THE BATTLE OF ARGINUSAE :
VICTORY AT SEA AND ITS TRAGIC AFTERMATH IN THE FINAL YEARS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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KILLING ERATOSTHENES:
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READING HERODOTUS:
A GUIDED TOUR THROUGH THE WILD BOARS, DANCING SUITORS, AND CRAZY TYRANTS OF THE HISTORY
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THE MUTILATION OF THE HERMS:
UNPACKING AN ANCIENT MYSTERY
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TRYING NEAIRA:
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SOCRATES AT WAR:
THE MILITARY HEROICS OF AN ICONIC INTELLECTUAL
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ANCIENT GREEKS IN DRAG:
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IT WAS A DARK AND STORMY TWEET:
FIVE HUNDRED 1ST LINES IN 140 CHARACTERS OR LESS
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PRISONERS OF THE PELOPONNESIAN WAR
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Blachman, Jeremy: Anonymous Lawyer

  Amazon  

4 stars

I don't know much about law offices or identify particularly with the people who work in them, and I tend to avoid epistolary novels: there's something about the format that usually annoys me. But Jeremy Blachman's Anonymous Lawyer is a great read. The book--which grew out of the author's blog (apparently no longer updated), at anonymouslawer.blogspot.com--purports to be a series of blog posts by a hiring partner at a big-league law firm. Writing as "Anonymous Lawyer" (AL), Blachman's protagonist blogs about the personalities and politics and the general working conditions at his office, where the over-worked, over-stressed, and over-paid sell their souls for a promotion or a larger office. AL is himself an unrepentant bastard, wont to assign underlings impossible tasks as a means of manifesting his authority--the capricious edicts of a malevolent near deity.

"I'm a partner at a half-billion-dollar law firm. Staplers should be lining up at my desk, begging for me to use them. So should the young lawyers who think I know their names. The Short One, The Dumb One, The One With The Limp, The One Who's Never Getting Married, The One Who Missed Her Kid's Funeral--I don't know who these people really are. You in the blue shirt--no, the other blue shirt--I need you to count the number of commas in this three-foot-tall stack of paper. Pronto. The case is going to trial seven years from now, so I'll need this done by the time I leave the office today."

AL's blog posts make up the greater part of the book, but they are interspersed with email--primarily between AL and his niece. "Anonymous Niece," an idealistic Stanford senior headed to Yale Law, is interested in putting her top-notch legal education to work "helping people," a naive notion her uncle hopes to dissuade her from.

AL is engaged in a decades-long cold war with a fellow partner, "The Jerk," a battle in which success is measured in square feet of office space and face time with the boss. The book follows what happens during the summer in which AL starts blogging, when the resignation of the firm's Chairman brings his rivalry with The Jerk to a head.

I may not be able to identify with the high-octane culture that Blachman skewers, but I can appreciate his protagonist's biting sarcasm and inhumane, politically incorrect take on things. A very funny book.

Comments

1.

I agree with you about epistolary novels - usually I find them too contrived, but this one sounds hilarious.

2.

I was trying to pinpoint what it is I don't like about them, but I'm not sure. Perhaps it's the often quick transitions from point of view to another. Or maybe just having to piece together the story from isolated bits.... Actually, I think the latter may be it. That's not a problem with this book because his blog posts, sometimes longish, act essentially as chapters. And they're told from a single POV, so it's not disruptive. The emails included don't make up a large part of the book, so they don't really disrupt the narrative.

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