Issue #135: Corporate Park

Once again, I’m turning the reins over to Contributing Editor Pei-Ling Lue, who has championed our latest issue, “Corporate Park” by Grant Munroe all the way from the slush pile to the final product. I hope everyone enjoys this strange and beautiful story. It’s always thrilling to publish an author for the first time, but even more so with a writer like Grant Munroe. We’re looking forward to seeing his career soar.–HT

At One Story, I’m the person who assigns stories from our slush pile, but every once in a while, I’ll come across a cover letter that’s compelling enough that I’ll read the story myself. This was the letter written by Grant Munroe:

Dear Editors,

The story that I’ve attached, titled, “Corporate Park,” may fit One Story. It’s strange, but humorous and timely. 

I’m currently enrolled in NYU’s MFA program for fiction, and live in Brooklyn and southwestern Ontario. I’m the author of an ongoing series of Corporate Folktales–humorous stories on contemporary corporate culture written as oral folk narratives–at McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. If published, this will be my first story in print. 

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Grant Munroe

I liked that the letter was short, but conveyed everything I needed to know about his story. Also, we’re always looking for emerging writers, so the fact that this would be his first published story was another plus. When we met last winter to go over his story, I found out that Grant had attended a lecture on cover letters given by our  Hannah Tinti and that he kept her advice in mind when he wrote the cover letter.  

When I read “Corporate Park,” I found the premise of a mountain lion finding his way into a corporate building hilarious. It was also a perfect response to what’s going on during this current economic crisis. I haven’t worked in a corporate environment in ten years, but the bureaucracy and pettiness of the characters in this story brought me right back to those gray cubicles. 

Next week, on May 21st, we will be cheering Grant Munroe, along with 8 other debut authors, at One Story’s Literary Debutante Ball: A Celebration of Emerging Writers. If you’d like to meet Grant in person, you may purchase tickets here. And to read more about “Corporate Park,” check out Grant’s Q&A.

9 thoughts on “Issue #135: Corporate Park

  1. Having survived and not survived agonizing weekly rounds of company layoffs in the high-tech corporate world over a 20-year career, I find Grant’s descriptions of these workers’ reactions right on target–dealing with the fear of sudden “death” by pretending not to notice the disappearance of those around them, moving on senselessly with the business at hand, privately trying to negotiate a safe exit before the inevitable hits, and becoming aware that there might be alternatives “out there.” I enjoyed reading Grant’s Q&A, too. Wish I could complete one of my first drafts in a few hours, Grant….Congrats on your first published story.

  2. Entertaining story. I thought it became a little too reminiscent of George Saunders, especially in the second half.

  3. Excellent story, and it’s nice to see a comedy getting some love from OS.

  4. This is one of the best stories I’ve ever read from One Story. Well done!

  5. I just got around to reading this story today. I cannot tell you how impressed I was. Wonderful story, terribly funny.

  6. Loved this story. Wish it was a complete novel because I wanted to keep reading!

  7. I thought it was really funny, too, though as someone else said, it was a ripoff of G. Saunders. (And why not rip off someone so great?)

  8. I finished this story about a week ago with a few other OS pieces I had to catch up on, but I was impressed with the story. I’ve worked in the corporate environment and have witnessed first hand-and sometimes a victim of the pettiness and duplicity that exists there. Reading this story brought back memories while making me laugh out loud and sharing it with some people I know. Good job Mr. Munroe.

  9. Pingback: Grant Munroe: “Corporate Park” – One Story #135, May 2010 « A Just Recompense

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