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Summary

A young woman walks into an employment agency and requests a job that has the following traits: It’s close to her home, and it requires no reading, no writing, and, ideally, very little thinking.

Her first gig - watching the hidden-camera feed of an author suspected of storing contraband goods - turns out to be inconvenient. (When can she go to the bathroom?) Her next gives way to the supernatural: announcing advertisements for shops that mysteriously disappear. As she moves from job to job - writing trivia for rice cracker packages and punching entry tickets to a purportedly haunted public park - it becomes increasingly apparent that she's not searching for the easiest job at all but something altogether more meaningful. But when she finally discovers an alternative to the daily grind, it comes with a price.

This is the first time work by Kikuko Tsumura - winner of Japan's most prestigious literary award - and has been translated into English. There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job is as witty as it is unsettling - a jolting look at the maladies of late capitalist life through the unique and fascinating lens of modern Japanese culture.

©2021 Kikuko Tsumura (P)2021 Dreamscape Media, LLC

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What listeners say about There's No Such Thing as an Easy Job

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Excellent narration

I don’t normally write reviews, but not only is this story relatable to people who have gone from job to job or suffered burnout, the narrator is incredibly good. Her voices and intonation are incredibly

3 people found this helpful

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  • Rose
  • 29-09-21

I LOVED it

I'm not surprised by the other two poor reviews, because this is definitely a book that will only suit a certain type of reader. But I'm not exaggerating when I said I LOVED it. I can see myself listening to this over and over again. I loved the descriptions of food, the seemingly mundane yet fascinating look into the narrator's life, the interesting jobs, and the peek into Japan. I really wanted it to keep going with even more jobs, and was disappointed when it ended. If you like books about loners where nothing much happens, yet somehow it stays with you, you will like this book. My other favorites are Strange Weather in Tokyo, The Talented Mr Ripley, Breasts and Eggs, The Price of Salt, Kitchen (Banana Yoshimoto), Housekeeping (Marilynne Robinson), and a lot of Haruki Murakami's work. If you like these works, you will probably enjoy this too.

4 people found this helpful

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  • nicholas
  • 05-10-21

My favorite book I’ve read this year

Bought this on a whim when I thought the cover looked interesting and ended up enjoying it way more than I hoped! The surreal and occasionally slightly spooky mood of the story pulled me right along from one job to the next always curious what twist or oddity was going to be. The narration is great as well, she really seemed to get into the character and made the whole thing feel that much more engaging.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Rachael C
  • 02-05-21

I learnt nothing

I’m half way through this book and it’s not teaching me anything groundbreaking about Japan. I have lived in Japan for the past 4 years and apart from talking about food, if you were an outsider this gives you no insight into why the work culture is so terrible. There is also no social commentary on why so many young people are in unstable work since the early 2000s.
You learn nothing about the character’s personal life, interests etc. Disappointing considering all the rave reviews.

1 person found this helpful

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  • S. Moore
  • 02-09-21

I Couldn't Get through it

I returned this audiobook. Not sure if it's the narration or the plot but I am bored to tears much like the character in the book. I had a hard time figuring out if the character was a man or a woman. I swore she said I don't have a girlfriend. Not that that is impossible but another time I thought she referred to herself as "he". I may try reading instead of audible, but I just can't continue.