The Factory - Hiroko Oyamada

New Directions


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The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada, translated by David Boyd / ISBN 9780811228855 / 116-page paperback from New Directions


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

The English-language debut of one of Japan's most exciting new writers, The Factory follows three workers at a sprawling industrial factory. Each worker focuses intently on the specific task they've been assigned: one shreds paper, one proofreads documents, and another studies the moss growing all over the expansive grounds. But their lives slowly 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 unexpected moments of creeping humor, The Factory casts a vivid―and sometimes surreal―portrait of the absurdity and meaninglessness of the modern workplace.

Born in Hiroshima in 1983, Hiroko Oyamada won the Shincho Prize for New Writers for The Factory, which was drawn from her experiences working as a temp for an automaker’s subsidiary. Her novel The Hole won Akutagawa Prize.

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