Not working is no joke at all

'Not Working' by Lisa Owens
‘Not Working’ by Lisa Owens
Not Working by Lisa Owens (Picador)

This is a debut novel and the blurb on the back cover promises a story that is “funny, sharp, tender and brilliantly observed”. Just the book to cheer the reviewer up during a post-op convalescence, it seemed.

Actually, no. Amusing at times but not laugh-out-loud funny. Sharp and tender? Neither hit-in-the-stomach moving, nor particularly insightful.

Brilliantly observed? A boring narrative of how to do almost nothing all day. The narrator is Claire, who has quit her job to find her meaning in life.

It is a very ordinary kind of life and she makes no amazing discoveries about that life nor about her purpose in it.

A reviewer should not evaluate a book before having read it through. However, it was a chore to get to the end. – Susan Stead

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