Just in time for Christmas, a local author has published a novel to which many Ottawans can relate, poking fun at bureaucratic cubicle culture.
Christian McPherson’s The Cube People looks at the life and times of a struggling computer programmer and wannabe novelist, Colin MacDonald.
Surrounded by a cast of screwball characters at his government job, MacDonald toils away while dealing with fertility treatment and dreaming of becoming a published writer.
“I’ve been a civil servant for the last 13 years,” said McPherson. “I know cubicle culture well, so writing this novel was partly a cathartic release for me; a way to vent out my daily frustrations with work.”
While the writing is consistently funny, it is also candid about the absurdity of white-collar culture. Through the story of his effort to make his way in the world of publishing, McPherson communicates his hope for redemption and the possibility of a happy ending.
“The book is not just about cubicle life though, it’s also about trying to get published in Canada and what it’s like to go through fertility treatment,” said McPherson.
“It took my wife and I almost three years to get pregnant with our first child and almost the same amount of time to get my first book published. So I wanted to write about those struggles also.”
Dealing with recycled air, bad lighting and bizarre office policies by day and scheduled love-making sessions and rejection letters by night, the novel’s main character tries to write his way out of his cyclical life story. Part tragedy, part comedy — with a bit of horror thrown in for fun — McPherson cooks up a boiling plot and a memorable anti-hero.
He said he wanted to write a contemporary novel that was funny and that people could really relate too.
“I wanted to let readers know that they are not alone and there is hope,” McPherson said.
“I think a vast number of people work in cubicles, especially in Ottawa, and I thought this novel would resonate with a lot of readers.”
“Also, with people having children later in their lives, more and more people are running into fertility issues. I wanted a novel that captured this struggle.”
McPherson says his novel so far seems to be hit with readers and he hopes for a runaway smash success, perhaps allowing him to escape from his own cubicle confinement.
Born and raised in the Glebe and Ottawa South, McPherson began writing The Cube People in 2007.
- Eddie Rwema