Three employees at a monolithic factory in an unnamed Japanese city begin to see reality itself seem to mutate in Oyamada’s stellar, mind-bending debut.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Available October 29, 2019

The Factory

Fiction by Hiroko Oyamada

Translated by David Boyd

The English-language debut of Hiroko Oyamada—one of the most powerfully strange young voices in Japan.

In an unnamed Japanese city, three seemingly normal and unrelated characters find work at a sprawling industrial factory. They each focus intently on their specific jobs: one studies moss, one shreds paper, and the other proofreads incomprehensible documents. Life in the factory has its own logic and momentum, and, eventually, the factory slowly expands and begins to take over everything, enveloping these poor workers. The very margins of reality seem to be dissolving: all forms of life capriciously evolve, strange creatures begin to appear… After a while—it could be weeks or years—the workers don’t even have the ability to ask themselves: where does the factory end and the rest of the world begin?

Told in three alternating first-person narratives, The Factory casts a vivid—if sometimes surreal—portrait of the absurdity and meaninglessness of modern life. With hints of Kafka and unexpected moments of creeping humor, Hiroko Oyamada is one of the boldest writers of her generation.

Editions: PaperbackEbook

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Paperback (published October 29, 2019)

ISBN
978-0-8112-2885-5
Price US
13.95
Trim Size
5x8
Page Count
128

Ebook

ISBN
9780811228862
Three employees at a monolithic factory in an unnamed Japanese city begin to see reality itself seem to mutate in Oyamada’s stellar, mind-bending debut.
Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[D]ecidedly experimental and subliminally philosophical, it best fits someplace between anti-capitalist science fiction and magic realism.
Asymptote
“Oyamada paints a stirring portrait of modern work-life culture.”
—Annabel Gutterman, TIME Magazine
Disquieting in its slow creep forward, the book presents copious mysteries: What is the purpose of these individuals’ jobs? What does the factory even make? What is up with the human-sized nutria supposedly living and dying in great numbers on the factory grounds? Perhaps even more unexpected is the way writer Hiroko Oyamada refuses to answer the questions she presents, allowing those mysteries, and their unsettling effects, to linger.
The A.V. Club
In a wry, deadpan style, she distills the profound unease of a world where companies grow more and more imperceptibly controlling even as they promise workers less.
—Julian Lucas, Harper’s
Oyamada deftly ties together the plights of human and nature, both becoming unrecognizable in an inflexible industrial economy.
Kirkus Reviews
A proletarian novella for today’s world.
—Rieko Matsuura
A noteworthy young female writer with a distinctive voice.
Lit Hub