The Employees

Longlist, National Book Awards 2022 for Translated Literature

book cover for Olga Ravn, The Employees
ISBN 9780811231350
New Directions Publishing
Olga Ravn (Photo credit: Laerke Posselt)
Olga Ravn

Olga Ravn is a Danish novelist and poet. Her debut poetry collection, Jeg æder mig selv som lyng: pigesind (I Devour Myself Like Heather), appeared to critical acclaim in 2012. More about this author >

Martin Aitken

Martin Aitken is the translator of numerous novels from Danish and, most recently, Norwegian and Swedish, including works by Peter Høeg, Ida Jessen, Kim Leine, Hanne Ørstavik, and Karl Ove Knausgård. More about this author >

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Translated from the Danish 

From the publisher:

“Ravn asks us to envision a future in which the machines, rather than the humans that create and maintain them, lead the workers’ revolution.”
—Lauren Nelson, LARB

Shortlisted for the International Booker prize, and the Ursula K. Le Guin Prize. The Employees reshuffles a sci-fi voyage into a riotously original existential nightmare

Now in paperback, The Employees chronicles the fate of the interstellar Six-Thousand Ship. The human and humanoid crew members complain about their daily tasks in a series of staff reports and memos. When the ship takes on a number of strange objects from the planet New Discovery, the crew becomes strangely and deeply attached to them, even as tensions boil toward mutiny, especially among the humanoids. Olga Ravn’s prose is chilling, crackling, exhilarating, and foreboding. The Employees probes into what makes us human, while delivering a hilariously stinging critique of life governed by the logic of productivity.