Monday, July 25, 2022

Twelve novels about assistants trapped in jobs they’re too good for

Alison B. Hart’s writing has appeared in Joyland Magazine, Literary Hub, The Missouri Review, and The Millions, among others. She co-founded the long-running reading series at Pete’s Candy Store in Brooklyn and received her MFA from The New School. She grew up in Los Angeles and lives in North Carolina.

Hart's debut novel is The Work Wife.

At Electric Lit she tagged twelve novels that "tell the tales of the assistants, temps, apprentices, and unpaid laborers who also smooth the way for others." One title on the list:
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee

“In a way, it’s tragic when you can do something you don’t like,” says one of the characters of Min Jin Lee’s debut novel Free Food for Millionaires, and it makes a decent thesis for the book. Queens-born Casey Han is a Princeton grad with expensive tastes. When she passes up Columbia Law School to become an entry-level sales assistant at an investment brokerage (a “bullshit job” in the eyes of her new boss), she disappoints her Korean immigrant parents almost as much as she does by living in sin with her white boyfriend. Thrown out of the family home, she’s got to make her own way through the excess of 1990s Manhattan—and moonlighting in the accessories department of a luxury department store doesn’t help, as she brings home more hats than she sells. But she’s poised to rise to the top of either world, if she can just commit to one path. With the same keen eye for emotion that she brings to her National Book Award–nominated epic Pachinko, Lee charts the wants and pangs of a woman on the verge.
Read about another entry on the list.

The Page 99 Test: Free Food for Millionaires.

--Marshal Zeringue