- Publisher : New Directions (February 1, 2022)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 144 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0811231356
- ISBN-13 : 978-0811231350
Shortlisted for the International Booker prize, The Employees reshuffles a sci-fi voyage into a riotously original existential nightmare
Funny and doom-drenched, The Employees chronicles the fate of the Six-Thousand Ship. The human and humanoid crew members complain about their daily tasks in a series of staff reports and memos. When the ship takes on a number of strange objects from the planet New Discovery, the crew becomes strangely and deeply attached to them, even as tensions boil toward mutiny, especially among the humanoids.
Olga Ravn’s prose is chilling, crackling, exhilarating, and foreboding. The Employees probes into what makes us human, while delivering a hilariously stinging critique of life governed by the logic of productivity.
― Justine Jordan, Guardian
"Everything I’m looking for in a novel. I was obsessed from the first page to the last. A strange, beautiful, deeply intelligent and provocative investigation into humanity. The Employees is an alarmingly brilliant work of art"
― Max Porter
"Beautiful, sinister, gripping. A tantalizing puzzle you can never quite solve. All the reviews say that the novel is, ultimately, about what it means to be human. What makes it exceptional, however, is the way it explores the richness and strangeness of being non-human."
― Mark Haddon
"What might result if Ursula K. Le Guin and Nell Zink had a baby."
― Tank Magazine
"An achingly beautiful mosaic of fragile characters managing their longing, pain, and alienation. This gorgeous, evocative novel is well worth the effort."
― Publishers Weekly
"In brief numbered statements delivered by the human and nonhuman crew of the Six Thousand Ship to a shadowy committee, Ravn seeds her narrative with direct and allegorical reflections on transhumanism, disappearing nature, and the ambiguities of being embodied... The novel is by turns queasily exact about what is seen―skin pitted like pomegranate, an object’s furrows oozing some nameless balm―and willfully obscure. Ambiguity is everything: “I don’t know if I’m human anymore. Am I human? Does it say in your files what I am?”"
― Brian Dillon, 4columns
"The Employees asks important questions about what makes up human consciousness, and also, critiques corporate language that can make its way into our lives sometimes without us knowing. It's very funny. It's very interesting. I definitely recommend checking this one out."
― Corinne Segal, WNYC
"A book that strikes a rare balance between SF philosophy and workaday feeling all while whirling through space."
About the Author
MARTIN AITKEN has translated numerous novels from Danish and Norwegian, including works by Karl Ove Knausgaard, Peter Hoeg, Ida Jessen, and Kim Leine.