Jennifer Schuessler, in an essay for the New York Times Book Review, examines how the world of work has appeared in works of fiction:
The literary novel needs more tinkers and tailors, the argument goes. (The best-seller list seems to take care of the soldiers and spies.) In a video introduction to the latest issue of Granta, dedicated to the theme of “Work,” John Freeman, the magazine’s editor, lamented the literary “invisibility” of daily toil. The essayist Alain de Botton, writing in The Boston Globe, recently called for a new literature “that can proclaim the intelligence, peculiarity, beauty and horror of the workplace.”
The essay raises important questions of how fiction shapes our worldview and how the underrepresentation of work themes in modern fiction deprives us of an opportunity to consider the experience of work outside of our own.