Russell Wiley is Out to Lunch – Richard Hine

So this is my first book of the new year, and the new regime it represents. I bought it because it was part of Amazon UK’s “12 Days of Kindle” sale. (which if you’re in the UK you should check out, some bargains for some well-known and/or excellent books – you’ve got just over 24hours from time of posting to grab them).

Russell Wiley is Out to Lunch tells the story of a mid-level manager in a publishing company who’s trying to sell advertising on a print newspaper in the emerging online era. It was written in 2010 but set in 2006. Although I don’t think that matters, you just need to know that he’s working in a business that is in a market that’s in the process of being disrupted and no-one, least of all his superiors, seems to know what to do about it.

Alongside the comedy of corporate politics there’s the story of his home-life which consists of what looks like an increasingly fragile marriage. We get Bridget Jones’ style commentary on how many days it’s been since he’s had sex with his wife.

I definitely enjoyed this book and although it wasn’t laugh-out-loud funny it did make me smile quite a few times. The main character is interesting because he seems a little too competent at work (though stymied by those around him) and little too pathetic at home. Still on balance I did like him and I think you need to for the book to work. I could have done with a little more sympathetic view of his wife. Not that she was completely awful but I think we were supposed to come to a realisation of wondering why they were still together perhaps gradually rather than never really seeing it to begin with. There were some cute, touching and funny flashbacks to the beginnings of their relationship I suppose, perhaps they needed to be put earlier in the book.

The other irritation for me was the company politics was perhaps a little too convoluted and had too many characters. I suspect that this meant it was more realistic (the author has worked in publishing, I never have) but I felt like I ‘got it’ and didn’t need as much  characters/office-politicking as we got. Unfortunately this made a relatively short book feel longer.

The ending was perhaps a little too perfect in terms of wrapping things up nicely and the good ending happily. But then if the book was a little like a RomCom (and it was in places) then this ending fitted that genre fine.

7/10 – a fun read overall.

Thanks to said sale my TBR now sits at 254 up from 251.


About shuggie

My name is Shuggie, Paul or LatePaul depending on where you know me from. I work in computers (databases) and occasionally write about softw
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