I have put off reading this book not only in spite of its great reviews, but because of them. Here’s why:
In 1995 I read a short story by Daniel Orozco titled “Orientation.” It was included in the 1995 edition of Best American Short Stories. This was a dark and funny parody of a new employee’s orientation to a new job. Although the story isn’t told in first person plural voice, it has that tone of “groupspeak.” You can see in this excerpt that much of the commentary is in this voice:
That is our receptionist. She is a temp. We go through receptionists here. They quit with alarming frequency. Be polite and civil to the temps. Learn their names, and invite them to lunch occasionally. But don’t get close to them, as it only makes it more difficult when they leave. And they always leave. You can be sure of that. The men’s room is over there. The women’s room is over there. John LaFountaine, who sits over there, uses the women’s room occasionally. He says it is accidental. We know better, but we let it pass. John LeFountaine is harmless, his forays into the forbidden territory of the women’s room simply a benign thrill, a faint blip on the dull flat line of his life.
This is really an outstanding story, and I highly recommend you read the complete text.
Not long after I read “Orientation,” I was involved in a Writer’s Workshop and decided to try writing a story in the first person plural voice myself. The story I wrote was titled “New Dog” and tells the story of an office romance through the collective eyes of the participants’ co-workers. I never found a satisfactory ending and my workshop group didn’t really like the voice, so I never did much of anything with this story. Now, of course, it’s too late. Anything I did with it would be seen as derivative of Then We Came to The End.