Book: Unclean Jobs for Women and Girls
Author: Alissa Nutting
Type of Book: Fiction, short story collection, fantasy, humor
Why Do I Consider This Book Odd: Because Alissa Nutting is my neurotic literature heroine.
Availability: Published by Starcherone Books in 2010, you can get a copy here:
Comments: I was reading this book when my mother died. It’s a strange feeling to be writing this discussion because Mom was alive when I began this book and dead when I finished it. I think this is a book that will have extreme sentimental value for me for the rest of my life. I’ll probably remember in vivid detail all the stories in this book until the day I am on my own death bed. It’s a good thing this is a very good book in almost every regard. If you are going to have a book burned into your brain in such a manner, best that it be a good book.
It’s not so surprising that I adored this collection – I raved about Nutting’s look at a female sexual predator and had high expectations for this book. This collection is less concentrated in terms of content and style than Tampa and the varied nature of this collection shows Nutting’s skill as a teller of many types of stories. She handles mundane yet self-aware neuroticism like an updated Tama Janowitz (whose seminal summation of ’80s New York, Slaves of New York, I will be discussing here soon). She dips in and out of fantasy and magical realism with a deft hand and plenty of humor. She is a keen observer of the human condition and tells her stories with great sympathy for her characters, even the ridiculous ones. I love this collection so much I am not going to limit my discussion to just a few stories, as I often do to save readers from an obscenely high word count. So be warned, many words beneath the cut.