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4.77  ·  Rating details ·  30 ratings  ·  12 reviews
In Temporary, a young woman's workplace is the size of the world. She fills increasingly bizarre placements in search of steadiness, connection, and something, at last, to call her own. Whether it's shining an endless closet of shoes, swabbing the deck of a pirate ship, assisting an assassin, or filling in for the Chairman of the Board, for the mythical Temporary, "there ...more
Paperback, 208 pages
Expected publication: March 3rd 2020 by Coffee House Press
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Average rating 4.77  · 
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 ·  30 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Adam Dalva
Oct 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Fun, funky, quick book - the unnamed lead, a Temporary, fills in for a series of jobs in a kinetic, never-ending sequence of absurdist invention. Like a more humorous The STORY OF MY TEETH, the chained scenes have a dream logic all their own. I particularly loved a long sequence in the center of the book called "First Work," which provides a necessary emotional underpinning to the zaniness.
In a strange, playful vision of our world (or something like it), the temporary, who is usually (but not always) a woman, dreams of (but rarely, if ever, attains) 'the steadiness', 'a job that stays'. The narrator is one such temporary, from a long line of temporaries. For these transient citizens, the legend of the 'first temp' has become the equivalent of a Bible story. A platitude – 'there is nothing more personal than doing your job' – is repeated like a prayer. In keeping with her ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
One of the best books I've read in a long time. Reading this is like attending a party to celebrate and grieve how unemployable you are, there's enough sadness confetti for everyone.
Sara Sligar
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book is just delicious! It is a cartwheel in book form, a mint julep with Pop Rocks, a squeegee gem of neon proportions! It’s about a temp worker who bounces between a variety of surreal jobs, encountering all kinds of strange obstacles and friends and lovers along the way, and it will resonate with anyone who has ever felt precarious in a job. (So -- probably everybody?) It's kooky and sad and fun, balancing bubbly humor with important issues of labor and permanence. It's also a great ...more
Sep 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I want to read this crazy little book again and again and again. I usually don’t like stuff that’s too weird, but Leichter doesn’t sacrifice purpose just for the sake of being strange: she knows what she's trying to say and never loses sight of that. And also, it’s a scream. A weird, punny, hysterical, hard-hitting collection of laughs, tears, and thought-provoking entertainment. What a ride.
Dec 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I snatched it up the second I got access to it because I had heard so much about it, and thought naively that “Temporary” meant that I was reading it really early, before it had a title. Whoops!

I was immediately drawn in to the mythology of the temporaries -- book got me on the hook with the humor early, and then sucker-punched me by being extremely moving. It is deeply sad in a way that lingers for me, and keeps sneaking up on me in my working life. and making me snicker helplessly at the
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Temporary by Hilary Leichter is absurdism at its best. The narrator fills in for a variety of temporary jobs, from chairman of the board to a crew member on a pirate ship. In addition to all of her jobs, she is dealing with her 18 boyfriends.

This book is an absolute joy to read. The reality Leichter has created is so incredibly strange and different from our own yet incredibly relatable. I wanted to follow this character through her whole life and was sad to leave her behind when the book ended.
Jan 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
5+ out of 5.
Calvino-esque in its absurdity, but blended with the millennial workplace malaise that fueled The New Me. A temp does strange temp jobs, like working on a pirate ship and helping an assassin -- all while carrying a ghost around in her necklace. It's wild and silly and manages to be both sharply critical of our late-capitalist moment and deeply humane in its assessment of eternal human realities.
Gods I loved this. What a great, great read. Truly gasped at the ending, too.
Dec 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's a hard-knock life for the madcap temp at the center of this book: She's a barnacle, she's a pirate, she's a shoe-shiner, she's Mary Tyler Moore tossing her hat in the air. She's the girl next door with a lot of boyfriends (eighteen!). But this amazing little novel is not just fun and games. It addresses the not-so-pretty life we are now living in this country. I cried a little, I laughed a lot. It's an emotional rollercoaster and a ride you won't want to miss. I could read it again -- in ...more
James Beggarly
Jan 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A dazzling, fantastical satire that takes place in the world of temps. Our protagonist works for a woman who lives in a house of shoes that she never wears, then works on a pirate ship, works briefly as a barnacle on the side of a rock and a killer’s assistant and so much more. By turns silly and deadly serious about the future of the workplace. A really great read.
David Gerrard
Dec 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
If, after you wake up from the American Dream, you make yourself some tea and then fall back asleep, this novel is the next dream you might have. Leichter's debut is funny, profound, unforgettable.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Nov 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
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Hilary Leichter’s writing has appeared in n+1, The New Yorker, The Cut, The Southern Review, and elsewhere. She has taught fiction at Columbia University and has been awarded fellowships from the Folger Shakespeare Library and the New York Foundation for the Arts. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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