Temporary

Hilary Leichter. Coffee House/Emily, $16.95 trade paper (200p) ISBN 978-1-56689-566-8
Leichter’s funny, absurdist debut cleverly explores a capitalist society taken to a dreamlike extreme. The narrator is a temporary—an employee of the world, whose temp agency can place people in different jobs, from the banal (basic office work) to the incredibly unlikely (subbing in for a barnacle by clinging to a rock). She has 18 unnamed boyfriends, who bond in her apartment while she is gone. Her boss, a woman named Farren, places the lead on a pirate ship, where she is asked to kill a hostage. She rebels, only to end up working as an assistant to an assassin. Though the jobs are temporary, the narrator accumulates objects—such as stolen boots, and a necklace containing the ashes of the Chairman of the Board, whose ghost is a supporting character. A particularly strong section comes in the middle of the book, when the narrator remembers her first assignment: her mother leaves her to wander through an empty house and close its doors over and over again. Though consistently zany, there are moments of profundity: always coming back to her many boyfriends and the desire to realize “the steadiness” (a tongue-in-cheek aspiration to find a fulfilling, lifelong career), the heroine finally finds peace through her conversations with the Chairman. Leichter’s cutting, hilarious critique of the American dream will appeal to fans of Italo Calvino. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 10/31/2019
Release date: 03/03/2020
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-1-56689-574-3
MP3 CD - 978-1-7213-5349-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-7213-5348-4
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