This brilliant and unflinching work deserves to be a classic.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

From the acclaimed author of The Employees, a radical, funny, and mercilessly honest novel about motherhood

Included in the Not So Happy Families bundle Get the bundle

My Work

Fiction by Olga Ravn

Translated by Sophia Hersi Smith and Jennifer Russell


After giving birth, Anna is utterly lost. She and her family move to the unfamiliar, snowy city of Stockholm. Anxiety threatens to completely engulf the new mother, who obsessively devours online news and compulsively buys clothes she can’t afford. To avoid sinking deeper into her depression, Anna forces herself to read and write.

My Work is a novel about the unique and fundamental experience of giving birth, mixing different literary forms—fiction, essay, poetry, memoir, and letters—to explore the relationship between motherhood, work, individuality, and literature.

Paperback(published Oct, 10 2023)

Price US
Trim Size
Page Count


Portrait of Olga Ravn

Olga Ravn

Contemporary Danish novelist and poet.

This brilliant and unflinching work deserves to be a classic.

Publishers Weekly, starred review

An unflinchingly honest reflection of a woman’s experience of her own body as it becomes a body that belongs also to the child. This experience includes beauty and pain, rage and tenderness, fear, suspicion, doubt…A stunning book that speaks aloud thoughts the reader believed had been theirs alone in long nursery hours of the night.

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

This novel from Olga Ravn, this new golden notebook, needs to be read by absolutely anyone who has known the quiet madness and claustrophobic happiness of the interior, especially mothers who also long for a life of literature. But this novel absolutely needs to be read by everyone else as well. Oh Olga Ravn, always inventing new forms, you are a genius, how do you do it?

Kate Zambreno

My Work is ferocious, horrific, elegant, insightful, irreverent, and funny. Can a woman still be a person after motherhood? Of course not, Ravn argues, or rather, admits. And in prose, poems, and journal entries, she documents all the absurdity and repulsiveness of growing a creature in your body and then raising it. It is a magnificent and satisfying meditation. One of the most honest and revelatory works of fiction about motherhood I have ever read. Ravn’s writing is ecstatic, philosophical, and addictive.

Heather O'Neill, author of When We Lost Our Heads

Olga Ravn writes dazzlingly about the work of motherhood and the work of writing. Reading Ravn’s book, you run through the whole gamut of human emotion, as though you too were a new mother: tears, laughter, anger, fear, pain, frustration. This is powerful writing that’s hard to put down.


On the surface, My Work seems quite different in scope [from The Employees]...but something tells me that interacting with humanoids and sentient space objects have more in common with the first stages of motherhood than one might think.

Eliza Smith, Lit Hub

Funny and ruthless.

Shannon Carlin, Time

Ravn has created a truly unique project which is not so much a story as it is an accumulation. It is all the selves, shed and grown, that mothers and birthing people encounter in the slippery aftermath of childbirth; it is the documentation of the mother/art monster problem, a problem that in Ravn’s telling, is as much about addition as it is subtraction.

Amber Sparks, The Brooklyn Rail

At once irrepressibly lively and painfully elusive. The strength of this book is the way that it dramatises a gap between explanation and lived experience.

Caleb Klaces, The Guardian

My Work explores childbirth and motherhood by mixing different literary forms—fiction, essay, poetry, memoir, letters—with [Ravn’s] signature experimental flair.

Sophia Stewart, The Millions

My Work is a marvel, and it puts Ravn in rare company amongst contemporary authors. It’s not often that architects of such finely engineered structures point them toward our collective humanity instead of their own mechanics.

J. Howard Rosier, Words Without Borders

In My Work, the line from why have children? to why write? is easy to draw. The two questions become almost the same.

Ariel Courage, Los Angeles Review of Books

Ravn, a Danish novelist who wrote the National Book Award-longlisted “The Employees,” has internalized the tropes of motherhood, only to reject them with dazzling vehemence.

Rhoda Feng, The Boston Globe

[My Work] is exactly right, capturing the overwhelming disorientation of early motherhood…It should be read by everyone.

Thessaly La Force, The New York Times

Out with the state laying claim to the woman’s body. Out with the pathologization of flesh. Out with self-annihilation to serve the needs of the child. Out with the loving complicity in that annihilation. … [In My Work], the narrative actually works at interrogating an arrested subjective position, cutting barnacles from the apparently naturalized formation and position of motherhood. It is leavened and hard-earned… A triumph.

Shinjini Dey, On the Seawall

Through [the novel's] singular collage of prose, poetry, diary, script and even newspaper scrapbook, Ravn traverses a large swath of textual terrain to explore the surface challenges and deeper significance of her work as both writer and mother.

Nick Hilden, The Washington Post