A young woman walks into an employment agency and requests a job that has the following traits: it is close to her home and it requires no reading, no writing, and, ideally, very little thinking.
Her first gig—watching the hidden-camera feed of an author suspected of storing contraband goods—turns out to be inconvenient. (When can she go to the bathroom?) Her next gives way to the supernatural: announcing advertisements for shops that mysteriously disappear. As she moves from job to job—writing trivia for rice cracker packages; punching entry tickets to a purportedly haunted public park—it becomes increasingly apparent that she’s not searching for the easiest job at all but something altogether more meaningful. And when she finally discovers an alternative to the daily grind, it comes with a price.
This is the first time Kikuko Tsumura—winner of Japan’s most prestigious literary award—has been translated into English. There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job is as witty as it is unsettling—a jolting look at the maladies of late capitalist life through the unique and fascinating lens of modern Japanese culture.
Download and start listening now!
“Narrator Cindy Kay performs this deceptively titled work with a fine sense of pacing and an understated affect. The warmth in her voice grounds the unnamed narrator’s sometimes fantastic experiences…This excellent listen has a feminist slant. The male bosses all need her help. Translated by Polly Barton, a Brit, the novel contains Britishisms—’adverts’ for ‘ads’ and ‘skiver’ for ‘shirker.’”