From the acclaimed author of the International Booker Prize–shortlisted literary sensation The Employees comes a radical, funny, and mercilessly honest novel about motherhood.
Anna is utterly lost. Still in shock after the birth of her son, she moves to snowbound Stockholm with her newborn and boyfriend, where a chasm soon opens between the couple. Lonely and isolated, Anna reads too many internet articles and shops for clothes she cannot afford. To avoid sinking deeper into her depression, she must read and write herself back into her proper place in the world.
My Work is a fervent, intimate, and compulsive examination of the relationship between motherhood, writing, and everyday life. In a mesmerizing, propulsive blend of prose, poetry, journal entries, and letters, Olga Ravn probes the pain, postpartum depression, housework, shopping, mundanity, and anxiety of motherhood, all the while celebrating the unbounded that comes from the love in a parent and child relationship—and rediscovering oneself through art.
Praise for My Work
“My Work is ferocious, horrific, elegant, insightful, irreverent, and funny. Can a woman still be a person after motherhood? Of course not, Ravn argues, or rather, admits. And in prose, poems, and journal entries, she documents all the absurdity and repulsiveness of growing a creature in your body and then raising it. It is a magnificent and satisfying meditation. One of the most honest and revelatory works of fiction about motherhood I have ever read. Ravn’s writing is ecstatic, philosophical, and addictive.” —Heather O’Neill, author of When We Lost Our Heads
“This novel from Olga Ravn, this new golden notebook, needs to be read by absolutely anyone who has known the quiet madness and claustrophobic happiness of the interior, especially mothers who also long for a life of literature. But this novel absolutely needs to be read by everyone else as well. Oh, Olga Ravn, always inventing new forms, you are a genius. How do you do it?” —Kate Zambreno, author of The Light Room
“Maintenance, Hvidovre” by Olga Ravn, translated by Martin Aitken —The New Yorker
An Excerpt from My Work —Granta
The 36 Most Anticipated Books of Fall 2023 —Time Magazine
Lit Hub’s Most Anticipated Books of 2023 —Lit Hub
“A stunning book that speaks aloud thoughts the reader believed had been theirs alone in long nursery hours of the night.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Explores childbirth and motherhood by mixing different literary forms—fiction, essay, poetry, memoir, letters—with [Ravn’s] signature experimental flair.” —Sophia Stewart, The Millions
“On the surface, My Work seems quite different in scope [from The Employees]…but something tells me that interacting with humanoids and sentient space objects have more in common with the first stages of motherhood than one might think.” ―Eliza Smith, Lit Hub
“Olga Ravn has not only added a highly personal and literary page-turner to her body of work: she has made a brave and important contribution to literary history and social debate, which since the 1970s has been in dire need of writing that incorporates lived experience.” —Børsen
“Olga Ravn writes dazzlingly about the task of motherhood and the task of writing… This is powerful writing that’s hard to put down.” —Politiken
An excerpt from My Work by Olga Ravn (translated by Sophia Hersi Smith and Jennifer Russell) — Lit Hub
Interview with Olga Ravn: “Learning how to love a child isn’t something that happens in a second”— The Guardian