Overqualified is a novel told in job application cover letters. It’s by Joey Comeau, who does the comic A Softer World and wrote the zombie novel One Bloody Thing After Another. (I haven’t read his latest, Bible Camp Bloodbath yet, but I will.)
When I told my girlfriend about the concept of this book she thought it sounded neat. Then I read her one of the letters and she said “Oh. It’s not very realistic. It’s just a gimmick. No one would actually write that.” And I was a little thrown off. I must have read it wrong, or prefaced it wrong. I mean, of course no one actually would write about their dead brother and throwing lightbulbs off an apartment building in a job application to GE, but it’s beautiful and sad. Or beautiful and angry like his letter to Gillette about razor-blades and sex. Or beautiful and cynical like his Hallmark greeting card ideas:
Front cover is a picture of a puppy dog with big, sad eyes. A Golden Retriever, maybe. Some breed that everyone loves, something vulnerable. The text on the front reads: “You think love has to last forever for it to be real. You think it isn’t true love unless it lasts until one of us is dead.” Inside text: “That isn’t love. That’s dog fighting.”
In every case there’s this desperation and weirdness that was weird and painful and amazing.
It’s not a clever story, which you might think it would be, with the tagline I gave it above. It’s just a weirdly emotional one about a man who’se trying to hold on to some sort of memory or reality by writing to corporations to the nonhuman beings that have all the power in our world. Reality shifts about him as he talks about all his many qualifications, but his pain remains constant.
So I should revise my original words. Overqualified is a dark, funny story about pain. Told in cover letters.
Joey Comeau’s book One Bloody Thing After Another, keeps on getting billed as a zombie book. I bought it direct from his hands at Comix & Stories in Vancouver, asking “That’s the zombie one, right?” (and Emily Horne said, “Of course it is; it’s got a kitten on the cover!”). But it isn’t really a zombie book. It’s a ghost story and a juvenile romance/delinquency story and a story about family and a being crazy and letting people see story and a breaking glass story, but zombies? Sure there are a few, and they’re kind of terrifying, but it’s this cryptic weird emotional kind of terrifying that you have to turn the music up really loud so you can’t pay attention to the bad shit going down. It’s not a book about “oh no it’s the end of the world and zombies!” but about “oh no the world keeps on happening and nobody cares about your zombies/ghosts/idiot-dogs but you.” Which is kind of scarier.
It was a beautiful book and doesn’t really deserve to be lumped into any zombie fashions going around these days. I’m just saying.