Temporary (paperback, 2020, Coffee House Press)

paperback, 208 pages

Published March 3, 2020 by Coffee House Press.


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4 star (2 reviews)

A young woman's workplace is the size of the world. She fills increasingly bizarre placements in search of steadiness, connection, and something, at last, to call her own. Whether it's shining an endless closet of shoes, swabbing the deck of a pirate ship, assisting an assassin, or filling in for the Chairman of the Board, for the mythical Temporary, “there is nothing more personal than doing your job.”

4 editions

This captures the actual despair of working bullshit jobs while waiting for the steadiness that never seems to come

4 star

This is weird and simultaneously serious af about the ever decreasing regulation of work. The characters seem emotionally shallow as if there was nothing else to them besides their ability to "fill in" (Marx's estranged labor, anyone?). I feel like the very dehumanization of work is the central figure of this book: there's no need to stick to humanly possible jobs - you might as well fill in for arthropods. I was intrigued at @hunterowens 's description of this book as "metaphysical temping" but it's very on point - work has overcome all of its limitations: legal, moral, physical, ontological, embodied in the wretched figure of the temp, whose existence is reduced to labor. I feel like reading this over and over, it hits so close to home.