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Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls Paperback – August 16, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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)
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.
Short deals with a woman who has stolen a panda, not very relateable but amusing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Fantastic writing, modern fairy tales, both terrifying and entrancing. Can't wait to see where she heads next - a writer I will follow.Published 18 months ago by Susan
Hated it. Book of horrible short stories. I like weird, but this was off the chain.Published 18 months ago by Patricia Gauss
A solid collection of tales. Many of these short stories explore themes that range from the dark to the ridiculous. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Matt Lewis
Not as open and perverse as "Tampa," but certainly an interesting read. Some of the stories drag horribly, while others are engaging and a few are heartbreaking. Read morePublished 23 months ago by Hillary W.
The title is appropriate. I enjoyed the stories although some seemed to have abrupt endings. They are almost like short snapshots in time. The settings and time periods vary. Read morePublished on June 9, 2014 by bet22
I love the unexpected. This was ,and a little shocking. Always thought provoking though. I m having my husband read it next, I think he,d enjoy it. Not just for women.Published on June 8, 2014 by M. Groesse
Each story is a surprise, illustrating the quirky mind of the author and her facility with words. Unique and entertaining.Published on June 8, 2014 by Lynne A. Schepartz
Suck a rock Amazon. Free Hachette. Why kill publishing? Why do you hate books so much dollar chasing monkies? Free writers.Published on June 7, 2014 by Thomas Weller