Fascinating Fiction in the Workplace
Following the pandemic, many of us have moved from working in offices five days a week to working from home or hybrid working. This has led to a huge change in the way we work and how we feel about the workplace and of course a resurgence in the workplace novel. The titles we have selected for you today reflect this changing environment and explore how things could change in the future of the workplace.
Maid by Stephanie Land
As a struggling single mum, determined to keep a roof over her daughter’s head, Stephanie Land worked for years as a maid, working long hours in order to provide for her small family. In Maid, she reveals the dark truth of what it takes to survive and thrive in today’s inequitable society. She wrote true stories that weren’t being told. The stories of the overworked and underpaid.
The New Girl by Harriet Walker
Margot Jones is the fashion editor at women’s magazine Haute, and pregnant. Margot’s used to being the object of another women’s envy – who wouldn’t want her successful career, loving husband, and stylish wardrobe? Maggie, a freelance journalist, certainly knows she doesn’t measure up. So when Margot gets in touch to suggest she apply for her maternity cover at Haute, Maggie seizes the chance at living a better life – even if it’s only temporary.
The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada
The Factory follows three workers at a sprawling industrial factory. Each worker focuses intently on the specific task they’ve been assigned: one shreds paper, one proofreads documents, and another studies the moss growing all over the expansive grounds. But their lives slowly become governed by their workdays take on a strange logic and momentum, and little by little, the margins of reality seem to be dissolving: Where does the factory end and the rest of the world begin? What am I doing here?
The Herd by Andrea Bartz
Katie Bradley is among the hopefuls to join the elite women-only coworking space THE HERD, the H-E-R always purple. With links via her sister to THE HERD’s founder – Eleanor, Katie has found her next book subject in the brilliant, trailblazing and extremely private business queen. Then, on the night of the glitzy Herd news conference, Eleanor vanishes without a trace. Everybody has a theory about what made Eleanor run, but when the police suggest foul play, everyone is a suspect.
Happy for You: A Novel by Claire Stanford
Four years into writing her still-unfinished philosophy dissertation, Evelyn Kominsky Kumamoto is wrestling with big questions about life: How can she do meaningful work in the world? Is she ready for marriage—and motherhood? Swallowing her doubts, Evelyn makes a leap, leaving academia for a job as a researcher at the third-most-popular internet company, where her team is tasked with developing an app. Confronting Silicon Valley’s norm-reinforcing algorithm, she struggles to find belonging.
The Employees: A Workplace Novel of the 22nd Century by Olga Ravn (translated by Martin Aitken)
The crew of the Six-Thousand Ship consists of those who were born, and those who were made. Those who will die, and those who will not. Ravn’s crackling is structured as a series of witness statements compiled by a workplace commission. Wracked by all kinds of longing, The Employees probes into what it means to be human, emotionally and ontologically, while simultaneously delivering an overdue critique of a life governed by work and the logic of productivity.
There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura
A woman walks into an employment agency and requests a job that requires no reading, no writing – and ideally, very little thinking. She is sent to an office building where she is tasked with watching the hidden-camera feed of an author suspected of storing contraband goods. But observing someone for hours on end isn’t so easy. How will she stay awake? When can she take delivery of her favourite brand of tea? And, perhaps more importantly – how did she find herself in this situation in the first place?
That Woman by Helen Monks Takhar
There’s a new girl at work. Young, beautiful, confident, she’s everything you used to be. You’re flattered when she befriends you. So, when your boss starts giving her your work, at first you think it’s a mistake. But then, one Sunday, the new girl turns up in your local pub. The next week, she starts dressing like you… Now she’s taking control of everything. Because she doesn’t just want your job – she wants your life…
The Interview by C. M. Ewan
It’s 5 p.m. on a Friday. You have been called to an interview for your dream job. In a stunning office thirteen floors above the city below, you are all alone with the man interviewing you. Everyone else has gone home for the weekend. The interview gets more and more disturbing. You’re feeling scared. Your only way out is to answer a seemingly impossible question. If you can’t . . . what happens next?
Several People are Typing by Calvin Kasulke
Is it still WFH when you’re now just binary code? Whilst working on a spreadsheet for a New York-based PR firm, Gerald has his consciousness uploaded into his company’s Slack channel. He posts for help, but his colleagues assume it’s an elaborate joke to exploit the new working-from-home policy, and now that Gerald’s productivity is through the roof, his bosses are only too happy to let him work from . . . wherever he says he is.