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Hilary Leichter

The cult American hit Alice in Wonderland set in the gig economy’ (New York Times)

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‘Terrifyingly entertaining.’ Kelly Link
‘Masterful.’ Washington Post
”Alice in Wonderland set in the gig economy.’ New York Times
‘What is this?’ Los Angeles Times
Shortlisted for the Center for Fiction’s 2020 First Novel Prize

18 boyfriends. 23 jobs. One ghost who occasionally pops in to give advice. Welcome to the world of the Temporary.

‘There is nothing more personal than doing your job’. So goes the motto of the Temporary, as she takes job after job, in search of steadiness, belonging, and something to call her own. Aided by her bespoke agency and a cast of boyfriends – each allotted their own task (the handy boyfriend, the culinary boyfriend, the real estate boyfriend) – she is happy to fill in for any of us: for the Chairman of the Board, a ghost, a murderer, a mother. Even for you, and for me.

Wild, hopeful, infinitely sad and infinitely funny, Temporary is the smartest, most humane story of what it is to work and live, here and now.

Critic Reviews

A brisk, wildly imaginative first novel… you can hear an old note in American fiction… [the] violent, surreal, often cartoonish scenarios delivered deadpan that draw attention to the freakishness of ordinary life — from writers like Donald Barthelme, Gordon Lish, Ben Marcus… Crisp, swift and sardonic, Temporary reads like a comic and mournful Alice in Wonderland set in the gig economy, an eerily precise portrait of ourselves in a cracked mirror.

New York Times
Critic Reviews

A narrative so deliciously allusive and disarmingly literal that this reader kept thinking maximum glee had been attained, only for the glee to somehow grow even more maximal just a few sentences later.

Helen Oyeyemi
Critic Reviews

The book joins an emerging genre of millennial workplace novels... In the tradition of satirists from Jonathan Swift to Helen DeWitt, Leichter builds a world that’s absurd, but familiar enough to give pause. Weighty questions underlie the wackiness as the temp’s misadventures roll towards a resolution.

Financial Times
Critic Reviews

Masterful… Recommended reading for workers — and essential reading for nonessential workers — everywhere.

Washington Post
Critic Reviews

[Temporary is] absurd and dreamlike, sad and funny, and I totally lost myself in it. Leichter is particularly brilliant on the nature of people being replaceable or interchangeable. A bizarre yet compelling book.

Daily Mail
Critic Reviews

Cheekily pertinent and disturbingly relatable.

The Herald

Hilary Leichter has been published in the New York Times, n+1, the New Yorker, the Cut, and Conjunctions. She teaches writing at Columbia University and has been awarded fellowships from the Folger Shakespeare Library and the New York Foundation for the Arts.

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