Rebecca Liu at Prospect Magazine:
“God,” a friend of mine recently confided to me, “needs to make a comeback.”
She sounded like she was joking, she continued, but she wasn’t. Growing up in the overwhelmingly secularised milieu of millennial city-dwellers was not delivering her any meaning, particularly during the era of Covid-19. The already apparently trivial demands she faced daily at work seemed to not slow down, but rather accelerate. Her bosses were still urgently demanding her to work to an increasingly arbitrary schedule; clients still desperately needed action from her, today. At a time of mass suffering, there seemed little to reflect on how best to live.
The protagonist in Kikuko Tsumura’s There’s No Such Thing As An Easy Job, translated by Polly Barton (and the first of Tsumura’s novels to be translated into English), lives in a world bereft of meaning, flitting between—like my friend, like most of us—roles that promise us a respectable claim to adult life: jobs.