Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Benoît Duteurtre and Customer Service

Once again, Chad Post at Three Percent reviews one of my recent reads: this time it's Customer Service by French writer Benoît Duteurtre, translated by Bruce Benderson, and published by Melville House as part of their series "The Contemporary Art of the Novella."

The novella opens with the hapless narrator leaving his cell phone in a taxi. In his mind, this is an easy enough problem to solve—all he has to do is get a replacement phone and he’ll be on his way. For anyone who’s ever dealt with a cell phone company (i.e., everyone), it’s never that simple. As the narrator finds our, the new phone will cost four times as much as the original, and without his SIM card, he won’t be able to keep his phone number, and besides, his account doesn’t allow for a replacement phone—he’ll have to open a new account and pay for both until the original contract expires.

Refusing to give in to this insanity, he decides upon another approach—getting in touch with Leslie Delmare, Director of Customer Service, who had sent him a letter granting him “preferred customer” status, which must count for something, right?

Read the rest of the review here.

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