Title: There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job
Author: Kikuko Tsumura
Translator: Polly Barton
Publisher: Bloomsbury UK
Publication Date: 26th November 2020
A woman walks into an employment agency and requests a job that requires no reading, no writing – and ideally, very little thinking.
She is sent to an office building where she is tasked with watching the hidden-camera feed of an author suspected of storing contraband goods. But observing someone for hours on end isn’t so easy. How will she stay awake? When can she take delivery of her favourite brand of tea? And, perhaps more importantly – how did she find herself in this situation in the first place?
As she moves from job to job, writing bus adverts for shops that mysteriously disappear, and composing advice for rice cracker wrappers that generate thousands of devoted followers, it becomes increasingly apparent that she’s not searching for the easiest job at all, but something altogether more meaningful…
The first thing that caught my eye with this book is the cover – it is so attractive and also totally encapsulates the exact feeling anyone who has ever worked a supposedly ‘easy’ job will recognise! There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job follows a young woman who has completely burnt out at her previous job and is looking for something that will require minimal complex thought and stress. We then follow her as she tries out five different and often rather strange jobs.
What I really enjoyed about this book is that it is completely different to anything I’ve read before. I often find that translated fiction presents me with a new reading experience as different countries have such varying and interesting styles to their writing. There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job is decidedly odd in the best way. There is an almost dreamlike feeling to the story as our main character floats from one bizarre job to the next. I loved the book being split into sections, one for each job, as it almost felt like a bunch of connected short stories. The writing is kind of surreal and often gives off an almost unnerving tone but at the same time it also manages a wry wittiness which provides a sharpness to the journey from job to job.
There’s No Such Thing as an Easy Job is the sort of book you just have to give yourself over to and let yourself bob along with the disillusioned main character on her search for purpose and meaning in her life. It is an unusual, quirky and endearingly strange book which I believe contains a deeper resonance especially for young adults like myself. I would absolutely recommend if you’re looking for something a bit outside the norm!
I kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.