Named as one of the best novels of 1994 by Andrew Riemer in The Independent Monthly, Jetlag is a look back at the 1980s, the decade of greed, emerging globalization, and seemingly limitless possibilities. It is the story of Laurie Michaels, an ambitious woman of 26 who believes that the obstacles of being a woman in a man's world can be overcome by competence and hard work.
Giving up her job as a business journalist in Hong Kong to join Orion Management Systems, a multinational computer-based project management company, she embraces her new role with enthusiasm and optimism, including her relationship with one of the company's managers, with whom she meets up frequently in airports and hotels all over the world.
Laurie enjoys watching the rapid development of cities and industry in North-east and South-east Asia, where the company is helping construct power plants, fabrication yards, skyscrapers and subways.
She enjoys, too, being involved in projects in the Middle East, Europe and Scandinavia. Increasingly, however, she becomes aware that her role in the company may not be what she thinks it is, and that the information she is gathering is for purposes she does not understand until very near the end ó an understanding that shatters her faith in the company, business ethics, her lover, and who she is.
Public-relations jargon and flat prose generally make this first novel about the lives of globe-trotting reporters and business execs as exciting as a company boardroom meeting. The story revolves around Laurie, a footloose Australian journalist for a Singapore business magazine who becomes emotionally involved with a top computer salesman and is drawn into his circle of business colleagues. Later, Laurie accepts a job at his rapidly growing computer company, Orion Management Systems, and trails him from the office to his rented flat, trying to get the evasive salesman to commit to her. In the end, though, readers don't much care about the pair's plight or those of the corporate types they work for, because all are equally two-dimensional. Nayman ignores the emotional possibilities of characters this world destroys-Laurie's friend Susan, for instance, a former reporter who is institutionalized. Nor does she devote much attention to the motivation of Laurie herself, who jokes a lot and says things such as ``Marketing strategy. Recommendations therein. Approval necessary. Discussion required.'' Most of this largely superficial book reads this way.