The Factory | Granta

  • Published: 02/11/2023
  • ISBN: 9781803510538
  • Granta Books
  • 128 pages

The Factory

Hiroko Oyamada

Beyond the town, there is the factory. Beyond the factory, there is nothing.

Within the sprawling industrial complex, three employees are assigned to different departments. There, each must focus on a specific task: one shreds paper, one proofreads documents, and another studies the moss growing all over the expansive grounds. As they grow accustomed to the routine and co-workers, their lives become governed by their work. Days take on a strange logic and momentum, and little by little, the margins of reality seem to be dissolving: Where does the factory end and the rest of the world begin? What’s going on with the strange animals here? And after a while – it could be weeks or years – the three workers struggle to answer the most basic question: what am I doing here?

With hints of Kafka and Beckett and unexpected moments of creeping humour, The Factory is a vivid, and sometimes surreal, portrait of the absurdity and meaninglessness of the modern workplace.

Strangely chilling

New York Times

A stirring portrait of modern work-life culture

TIME Magazine

[A] stellar, mind-bending debut

Publishers Weekly

The Author

Born in Hiroshima in 1983, HIROKO OYAMADA a is the author of two novellas: The Factory, which won the Shincho Prize for New Writers, and The Hole, which won Japan’s prestigious Akutagawa Prize. Oyamada has also written numerous short stories and essays.

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‘As I lay on the mattress, the white toe pads of the gecko floated up before me, against the vastness of the blue-black night. Rather than a presence, it seemed to me more like a trace, a barely discernible odour that flooded in on the air.’

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