Dayna Ingram's Reviews > Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls

Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls by Alissa Nutting
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review
Mar 21, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: short-stories, weird-shit, strong-female-lead
Read from January 11 to 22, 2011

I cannot find the words to adequately review this magnificent collection!

So here is a snippet from Nutting's interview over at the Rumpus:

Rumpus: What I love about your stories – one of many things I love – is that you write about the absurdity of contemporary popular culture without sacrificing compassion for your characters. I’m thinking of the story “Porn Star,” which is narrated by a porn star who’s expected to have anal sex on the moon for a reality TV show. In the wrong hands, this story could be a didactic mess. But the final paragraphs are sad and haunting. Do you worry that folks (critic folk in particular) will miss the quiet tenderness beneath the wild plots?

Nutting: Luckily I’m on prescription drugs that prevent me from worrying about anything too much. But yes, I do…I think humor is like a shield that lets you get as close to the sad sad flame as possible—far closer, oftentimes, than drama. The stories are funny and many have absurdist premises, but that’s the (hopefully enjoyable) coating that makes the bitter pill go down a bit easier. All of the stories’ narrators experience pretty grave pain. I wanted the stickiness of emotional agency to be highlighted throughout.

So that pretty much sums up the tone and intentions of Nutting's stories. The other thing I love about these stories are that they are full of risks. How, as a writer, are you not taking risks when you start a story out with, "I am boiling in a large pot with five other people"? Nutting is not afraid to follow these absurd lines all the way through. She doesn't just set something up and abandon it; she dives in headfirst and lets it take her on a journey of discovery (it is often easy to forget that essential aspect of writing: discovery). But even with the risks, Nutting remains thoroughly in control; she is not in contention with her characters, or her plots or her themes or ideas. Her characters may say to her: "This is what I am doing." And she responds: "Okay, but this is how you're going to do it."

Risk. Control. Humor. Absurdity.

2 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls.
Sign In »

Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Kelly (new) - added it

Kelly I've been wanting this book for like ever...where did you get this, because I can't find it anywhere?

Dayna Ingram Sorry I am responding so late!

I got it from Small Press Distribution:

back to top