The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada
translated by David Boyd
available from New Directions
Three seemingly unrelated characters perform mind-numbing tasks at an overwhelmingly large factory in this outstanding novella. One person shreds documents, one studies moss, and one proofreads documents. In each case the never-ending work has no clear goal, causing each of them to question their role at the factory and eventually the factory itself, with its sprawling grounds and odd internal ecosystem. Told in alternating first-person narratives, The Factory speaks to our estrangement from work with absurd, dark humor, and is recommended for anyone who's ever questioned the value or meaning of a job.
The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada (trans. David Boyd) is available from New Directions.