Thanks to everyone for dishing takes on The Talented Mr. Ripley, and for keeping quiet about Barry’s murder and ongoing impersonation of Kelsey. (All it took was an ashtray and a little peroxide.) This month we’ve landed on a book that was both an organic interest of the DRAB crew and a months-old special request by a reader: Hiroko Oyamada’s The Factory, published in its original Japanese in 2013 and translated into English in 2019 by David Boyd.
Please pretend that we were high-functioning enough to have announced this last week, because Oyamada’s slim debut novel would’ve made for perfect Labor Day reading: It’s a meditation on work, following three employees at a huge nameless factory, saddled with tasks as mundane and numbing as staring into moss. (Note to editor: Wouldn’t entirely mind getting assigned to the “staring into moss” beat for a quarter.) For readers who dug The Castle, there will be plenty to chew on and laugh at; even for those who didn’t, Boyd’s “smooth and plain-spoken” 116-page translation might go down easier than some discursive and unfinished Kafka.
Grab a copy at your local library, independent bookstore, or Bookshop.org. Then come join us on Thursday, October 7 as we break it down in the comments. We’ll also send out reminders in The Cipher, the daily newsletter blessing the inboxes of all Pal-and-up subscribers. Kelsey will be rejoining the DRAB crew this cycle, and Barry might just stick around, provided you all personally email him every few hours to tell him just how much you valued his contributions, citing a few of your favorite critical insights and word choices wherever appropriate.