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There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job Reviews

There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job by Kikuko Tsumura

There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job

Kikuko Tsumura

4.00 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
Publication date: 26 Nov 2020
ISBN: 9781526622242
4 stars out of 5
6 Dec 2020

"Tsumura has produced an imaginative and unusual contribution"

The novel is crammed with unnecessary detail, and reading it can also be a job that brings on mental fatigue. But it somehow manages to be consuming. Polly Barton’s translation skilfully captures the protagonist’s dejected, anxious voice and her deadpan humour, as we are lulled into the rhythm of her daily worries and concerns – what to eat, where to buy what – which then hit up against her workplace dramas. Tsumura has produced an imaginative and unusual contribution to a wave of Japanese literature by authors (see also Hideo Yokohama and Sayaka Murata) exploring work culture in Japan.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
4 Dec 2020

"Kikuko Tsumura’s novel about workplace nihilism is both a smart and timely read"

As a disquisition on the value of work, the book is uncannily timely — working from home has left many questioning their employment. The first “easy” job entails surveilling a novelist who spends much of his day napping or making coffee; his novel is ridden with holes. There’s No Such Thing as An Easy Job avoids that pitfall by recourse to the magical, but it is not without flaws. The ending, neat and didactic, is clunky. Tsumura, who herself quit her first job after workplace harassment, has nonetheless produced a novel as smart as is quietly funny.

4 stars out of 5
28 Nov 2020

"the fantastical and the ordinary become interchangeable"

Tsumura has a sharp eye for the absurdities of white-collar admin, the solace of workplace friendships, the insidious anxieties, and the consoling siren lure of fast food (those Inarizushi parcels and jumbo manju sound irresistible), but the novel is feeling its way into deeper waters. What seems the least challenging job —checking out edible vegetation in a national park forest — turns out to be not only demanding but life-changing. Some longueurs creep in here, but the novel’s surreal charm wins through...