Monday, July 25, 2022

Twelve novels about assistants trapped in jobs they’re too good for

Alison B. Hart’s writing has appeared in Joyland Magazine, Literary Hub, The Missouri Review, and The Millions, among others. She co-founded the long-running reading series at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn and received her MFA from The New School. She grew up in Los Angeles and lives in North Carolina.

Hart's debut novel is The Work Wife.

At Electric Lit she tagged twelve novels that "tell the tales of the assistants, temps, apprentices, and unpaid laborers who also smooth the way for others." One title on the list:
Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke

Told entirely through Slack message threads, Several People Are Typing is a satirical romp through workplace culture and a meditation on the pathos and poetry of digital communication. Gerald is a mid-level employee at a public relations firm when he finds himself somehow stuck inside the app. At first he’s desperate to return to the land of living—no thanks to his coworkers, who are convinced he’s only out to milk his remote setup—but he grows to savor his increased productivity and life inside the matrix. After all, “what is a workplace but a cult where everyone gets paid, really?” He also develops surprisingly intimate relationships with both the coworker he pays to check on his body and Slackbot, a helpful but menacing piece of AI in search of a human form. You don’t have to have the rat-a-tat-tat of Slack’s new message notification etched in your consciousness like one of Pavlov’s dogs to enjoy this book, but it doesn’t hurt.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue