Author: Alissa Nutting
Publisher: Dzanc Books
Publication Year: 2011
"Nutting's outrageous writing makes my face split with laughter. . . . She's glorious chaos and utterly original."-Lydia Millet"A dark catalog of behavior for her characters and the result is a kind of human bestiary, if humans were programmed to go down in flames, to run themselves aground, to seek ruin on every occasion. . . . (They) illuminate how people hide behind their pursuits, concealing what matters most to them while striving, and usually failing, to be loved."-Ben MarcusAlissa Nutting’s collection is reminiscent of George Saunders' or Aimee Bender’s earlier work where nothing is held back and anything goes.Alissa Nutting is fiction editor of the literary journal Witness and managing editor of Fairy Tale Review.
First of all, I think this book is the weirdest book that I’ve ever read. Before I delve more into it, Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls is a short story collection about women and humanity (I guess ?). This book consists of 18 short stories. Some are quite long, some are very short. Like it only has one page. Each one of them has profession name as the title. There are normal professions, such as Gardener, Deliverywoman, and Zookeeper. There are also unusual ones, such as Dinner, Ant Colony, and Corpse Smoker.
Though the title of the short stories and the book make it seems like it’s about women and their different kind of jobs. It’s not. It’s a collection of weird short stories that represent women and their longing of connection with other human being. Yes, it’s weird; all of the short stories in this book are weird. Even the one with safe title like Zookeper or Gardener. I’m really confused and not sure about how I will talk about this book. Don’t get me wrong, I love the writing. I think the writing is beautiful and it feels surreal. But sometimes I feel like the story is not intended to be taken literally. Like there’s actually a meaning behind each of the story. I like the stories with more pages because I was able to understand and interpret the meaning behind them.
Most of the stories have disturbing plot twist. So disturbing that I felt bad and sad for the characters. I would say that I enjoyed reading this book and I’m intrigued to read more of Nutting’s works. I would recommend this book to you if you’re okay with unusual stories and being open-minded with it.