About this book
• Winner of the 2008 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize
• Shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay BC Book Prize for Poetry
Frances, a manager for a large corporation, appears to be very successful. But Frances finds her peace of mind unravelling as she becomes overwhelmed by the destructive bureaucratic nature of the work world she lives in. Frances starts to lose small body parts, hears mysterious Leider music booming throughout her workplace at random times during the day, and obsesses over the caymans that guard her office building. Meanwhile, her alter-ego has regular conversations with the ghost of Kafka, who is writing the manuscript in which Frances appears. Written halfway between poetry and prose, Paper Trail questions the rat race work ethic many of us adhere to, more often out of necessity than choice. Through the thoughts and deeds of Frances and her alter-ego, author Arleen Paré demonstrates the stress and loneliness of modern society, and the profound impact this can have on a person’s sanity.
“How does the everyday, claustrophobic greyness of the office metamorphosize into a sensual, surreal poem? With deft lyricism, wry compassion, and a precise eye, Arleen Paré leads us into a unique and dreamlike world. In this startlingly original first book, Paré has spun gold.
“Moving between the need for due diligence and the extremes of urban nightmare, Paper Trail questions what it means to work in the post-industrial, precariously post-human world. Arleen Paré’s feminist, poetic, experimental narrative raises Kafka as the post-modern Cain, making the absurd real and the real starkly carnivalesque.”
“Arleen Paré’s new book is as sharp as a paper cut, as startling as a dial tone in the night. Paper Trail introduces a wonderful new talent: a writer who is not afraid to be poetic in her prose as she explores crucial moments in a working woman’s life. She delivers a truly Kafka-esque vision of life within a bureaucracy.”
“Paré’s compressed, lyrical language and memo-prose forms astutely evoke the coded innuendo of bureaucrateze ... As corporate values unquestioningly migrate into the arts, education, health care and governance, Paré’s literary encounter with this subject is not only timely but invigorating. Brava!”