Publication Date: Jul 23, 2013
List Price US $15.95
List Price US $12.99
The Deep Whatsis follows a brilliant antihero staggering into madness as he navigates among Brooklyn hipsters, advertising tyrants, corporate hypocrisy, and the ghosts of his past.
Meet Eric Nye: player, philosopher, drunk, sociopath. A ruthless young Chief Idea Officer at a New York City ad agency, Eric downsizes his department, guzzles only the finest Sancerre, pops pills, and chases women. Then one day he meets Intern, whose name he can’t remember. Will she be the cause of his downfall, or his unlikely awakening?
A gripping and hilarious satire of the inherent absurdity of advertising and the flippant cruelty of corporate behavior, The Deep Whatsis shows the devastating effects of a world where civility and respect have been fired.
Excerpt from The Deep Whatsis
I fire people. It’s my job.
But not only do I can them, in the process I help them, or should I say I wake them up, or I should say I take the time to write for them an honorable if not epic death, a death more dramatic and meaningful than the one they would otherwise be entitled to.
See, I was hired to “clean house” here at Tate, the ad agency in New York City where I am the Executive Creative Director slash Chief Idea Officer. I was brought in to create a culture of innovation and creativity, meaning get rid of the dead wood, shitcan the old and the slow and the weak, and that’s what I’m doing, because it’s my job.
At first it was something I dreaded. I hated myself. I knew I was being paid handsomely to be the one to blame, the one with the Dirty Deed, but still, it was distinctly not cool. Then I grew up. I read on page 334 of The Fountainhead where Howard Roark, say, cuts his own testicles off with a fork in front of his cousin or something, I don’t remember, not that exactly, but he does some extremely fuckedup shit that is totally ridiculous but in the end is worth it. That hit me when I read it. So after firing a handful of pathetic art directors and copywriters in their forties and fifties my attitude changed. I realized that my problem with this aspect of my job was purely in my head and that if I were to be totally honest with myself I would admit that there was something heroic about it. The thrill of the hunt, I guess. I had my prey cornered, I had the HR Lady watching me (I call her Lady but she wasn’t much older than me; tall, anorexic— lives on bagged nuts, coffee, and wine) and I had my sentence to speak, which thankfully she had written and rehearsed with me: “I’m very sorry to say this but we’re going to have to let you go.”
“With zingy, hilarious glee, Peter Mattei takes a sharp stick and pokes it at many deserving underbellies: the puffery of corporate America; hipsters, yoga dudes, and the general pretentiousness of north Brooklyn; and many more. The Deep Whatsis is a provocative, darkly subversive, deeply satisfying novel.” -Kate Christensen, winner of the 2008 PEN/Faulkner Award and author of The Astral
“[A] morbidly satiric look at corporate culture at the crossroads of art and consumerism…Mattei serves up a rampant critique of haute New York society.” –Publishers Weekly
“Sharp and insightful, The Deep Whatsis is a vivid portrait of a young man’s loosening grip on his humanity in the midst of the random cruelty of big business downsizing…His vision of big-city corporate life stuns with accuracy.”—New York Journal of Books
“The Deep Whatsis is a novel about silly infatuation, drugs, and near-awakenings. It’s also an eloquent, punchy sendup of the advertising business and the culture that feeds it. Mattei has created a character reminiscent of Bret Easton Ellis’ Patrick Bateman, Mark SaFranko’s Max Zajack, Ben Lerner’s Adam Gordon, and any of Tao Lin’s chemically dependent narrators. That Eric Nye’s voice is fresh and unique is a testament to Mattei’s talent, and the reason why fans of well-written satire should read this novel.”—Rumpus
“The Deep Whatsis is a terrific satire that lampoons abusive corporate values in which dignity means nothing…readers will relish Peter Mattei’s mirthful mocking of the amoral money-makers.”—Genre Go Round Reviews
“Fans of edgy fiction won’t regret picking up this one.”—Library Journal
“Original, subversive and savagely funny, this book…offers a dark portrait of the cutthroat nature of the corporate world and the vapidity of our consumerist society in which the void left by a lack of humanity is filled with meaningless objects.”—His Futile Preoccupations
“Beautifully rendered…The Deep Whatsis, for all its wit and charm, is a sober account of a man falling apart.” —Word Riot
“Mattei has created an unforgettable character.” —The Oxonian Review