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Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls Paperback – August 16, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Alissa Nutting was born in rural Michigan. She received a BA degree from the University of Florida and an MFA degree from the University of Alabama, where she served as Editor for the Black Warrior Review. Her writing has appeared in Tin House, Fence, BOMB, the fairy tale anthology My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me, as well as many other journals. She is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where she has received Cobain and Schaeffer Fellowships in Fiction. She is fiction editor of the literary journal Witness and managing editor of Fairy Tale Review.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 188 pages
  • Publisher: Starcherone Books (August 16, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0984213325
  • ISBN-13: 978-0984213320
  • Product Dimensions: 0.2 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #775,716 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
In two words: Disturbingly Delicious.
Best paired with: Red Wine

The one thing that struck me the most about this collection of short stories is the honesty displayed by the characters and the writing. Nothing is sugar coated and that is disturbingly delicious. Alissa Nutting put her characters in surreal and dark situations but showed us the complexity and drive inside of them. At times I had to throw my hand over my mouth at what I read, stunned, but that moment allowed me to get past the unconventional and look deeper into the heart of the character. These stories will make you feel an overwhelming and odd combination of feelings. "Models Assistant" will make you feel incredibly uncomfortable, "Ice Melter" will leave you numb and aching and "Knife Thrower" will tear any emotional resolve you have into little crumbs. I was not prepared for some of these stories. "Dancing Rat" is probably the one that I will remember most of all. Each one of these carefully planned stories will leave you wanting but for what I cannot tell you because, even now, I don't know myself. All I do know is, I need more. I have never read anything or anyone like Alissa Nutting and that equally terrifies and excites me. It is a rarity in this world to find something that is written with such fearlessness. I can go on and talk about each story but I won't. These little gems need to be discovered by your unprepared and stammering heart. I believe they will bring something different out of you than they did out of me and that is their real beauty. These stories were meant to be read, explored and felt, so, read on.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I am not normally a fan of short story collections, but this one was unexpectedly different. It is flat and honest, but in the way of a comic without a straight man. If there were a new wave of feminine neo-existentialist comic fiction, it would vote Alissa Nutting to the office of Treasurer or higher.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This selection of smart, surreal short stories is unpredictable and exciting to read. I prefer the longer stories that develop characters and stretch the imagination, rather than the one to two page segments. Its a dark read, layered and explorative of metaphor and an altered universe for women, but well worth diving into. If you enjoy poetry and the short story genre, this book is right up your alley.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The stories often surreal, sometimes plausible, and all are painful, raw examples of the female need for emotional connection and their often misguided attempts at seeking understanding. Even though the characters can be hard to relate to, any woman would find the emotions in each story as natural as breathing. In this collection, there really is no way to admit to having a favorite without revealing a little too much about oneself.
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Format: Kindle Edition
These stories are very engaging and sometimes hilarious in their satirical depictions of modern life, parent-child relationships, romantic entanglements, and the workplace. Ms. Nutting has an amazing talent for creating a sense of place and character. However, there are a few stereotypes that pop up in this collection, especially the "miserable childless woman." Can we please send that character back to chick lit where she belongs? Also, there are some appalling typos throughout the book that were probably the fault of an editorial intern, but they are jarring enough to interrupt the flow of the stories. There are several references to characters being in the "throws" of one emotion or another, and a character is described "sequencing" sweatshirts to bedazzle them. Given Ms. Nutting's considerable skill with language, I find it difficult to believe these mistakes were hers. All in all, though, these stories are well worth reading.
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Format: Paperback
A short story collection that packs a punch this one is a good choice for all those of you who enjoy darker fiction.
From the first sentence ("I am boiling inside a kettle with five other people"), the reader gets thrown into a strange, slightly askew world in which women have many, many odd jobs. The creativity in these stories really has to be applauded, as well as the sharp and insightful writing. The beginning stories are the best ones, with some of the middle ones losing a little bit of steam, but I suppose that is normal in most collections.
There is a certain humor in the writing and the ideas behind the stories, but what really comes across is a careful, nuances look at humanity and femininity in all its guises.
This collection is not for everyone. You have to like the bizarre, the eclectic, and the slightly grotesque, but if you want a taste of something completely different, then this one is a great choice.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I finished this book pretty quickly and had trouble setting it down. I finished Tampa before reading it and I have to say, short stories are the author's strong suit.

Nutting's style is exceptionally descriptive, but she manages to keep her stories balanced with dialogue that never feels unnecessary. I went into this expecting something completely different, but was pleasantly surprised. The variety is refreshing yet unmistakeably hers. Each story is a different genre, from drama to sci-fi to fantasy to tragedy, but they never feel out of place and all seem to fit into the collection.

Don't expect a happy go lucky novel full of uplifting stories, Nutting seems fond of the bittersweet and the plots can get downright weird.

Please comment if you want to know of any possible triggers in the book or have any questions.

Because of he variety of stories, I have rated each one separately below:

(MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS)

Dinner 2/5
Probably my least favorite, it's told from the perspective of a woman who is about to be cannabalised. It doesn't explain how she got there, (it seems willingly,) and focuses only on her feelings each passing moment. It seems like it was a better idea than it was a story.

Model Assistant 3/5
Very similar to a later story (Dancing Rat) and deals with the narrator's feelings of jealousy and needs to be admired by her beautiful model friend.

Porn Star 4/5
Set in the near future, a bit trope-y in her perception of porn consumers, but a somewhat accurate view of how some sex workers feel. Very in the moment narrative from an uncommon perspective.

Zookeeper 4/5
Short deals with a woman who has stolen a panda, not very relateable but amusing.
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