Jesse Barron at Bookforum:
Heike Geissler, the German novelist and translator, ran out of money in the winter of 2010 and took a temporary job at an Amazon warehouse in Leipzig to support her two children. As she tells us in the opening pages of her book about that experience, she was not intending to write a book about that experience. But intention is one thing and canniness another; a real writer’s canniness never deserts her. “Though the work was physically and mentally exhausting,” her translator explains, Geissler “managed to take notes on Post-its” during her six weeks at the warehouse, and write more detailed impressions at night.
Those Post-its make Geissler sound like a journalist—going undercover to show the human cost of our convenience addiction, if you like. But this is not a work of journalism. In fact, before she wrote Seasonal Associate, Geissler reportedly attempted a straight-nonfiction version of the story and five publishers rejected it.