The Envelope Manufacturer documents the hardships and gradual disintegration of the career of an independent small business owner.
The book begins as the head of the manufacturing company is already deep in financial straights: he struggles to deal with a series of late payments and dwindling orders and he finds ways to keep his company running by perilously deferring certain invoices.
Ultimately, the pressures of his role begin to have an effect on him psychologically; he begins to talk to himself and he occasionally cannot distinguish the difference between reality and his imaginings.
Even his personal life suffers, as his wife becomes disillusioned with the detached, dispassionate man he has become. Set in the mid twentieth century, just before the end of the period when most goods were still produced domestically, The Envelope Manufacturer chronicles the gradual demise of a small company as it struggles to adapt to a changing economic landscape.