cover image The Job Thing

The Job Thing

Carol Tyler. Fantagraphics Books, $7.95 (72pp) ISBN 978-1-56097-111-5

In these eight short stories of desperation and drudgery, Tyler details a long list of skilled and semiskilled jobs she's managed to survive over the years in order to pay the rent until she reaps fame and fortune as an artist. Her resume includes positions as clerk, bartender, waitress, census taker, floral delivery person, domestic engineer and baby sitter. After graduate school she ends up in New York City working in the frame shop from Hell--the workroom temperature is about as hot, and she's injured by a misogynistic coworker and fired for complaining about it. In another story she hopes to make a fortune building and selling cleverly designed cardboard playhouses for children, but while everyone likes them, no one buys them. Turning to the arts, she takes us on a tour of her ``Museum of Bad Memories,'' recalling a summer job teaching art to out-of-control youngsters. Tyler's drawings are comical though without much dazzle. But she has a talent for cheerfully rueful, why-me stories, and she provides a woman's view of the working world of overeducated and unemployed aspiring artists. (June)