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Granta 109: Work

Most of us spend more time at work than anywhere else, but are our lives defined by the work that we do? Do our jobs reflect our passions and personality, or are they just a means to an end, a necessary evil to pay for the weekends? From the jobless to the workaholics, from Peru to Essex to Rwanda, Granta 109 tells the stories of how and why we work, and whether or not work has the power to make us who we are.


Praise for Granta 109

In this issue:

Martin Kimani examines the work of war as farmers take up arms in Rwanda
Daniel Alarcón infiltrates the extraordinary parallel world of book pirating in Peru
Steven Hall visits the world’s pre-eminent robotics lab
Yiyun Li recalls a job transcribing news articles for the Chinese Communist Party
Salman Rushdie meditates on sloth
Ruchir Joshi finds out how a transforming economy is affecting the India’s workers
Aminatta Forna considers why caring for animals is essential to being human
Colum McCann remembers his father, a newspaper man
Kent Haruf writes a moving portrait of a patient he met while working in a hospice


Mikhael Subotzky and Patrick Waterhouse photograph Johannesburg’s Ponte City Apartments

Also extracts from Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o’s forthcoming memoir of his childhood in a rural, polygamous Kenyan household and Peter Stothard’s new book remembering his childhood in the Marconi work village in Essex


New fiction from Julian Barnes, Jim Crace, Joshua Ferris, V.V. Ganeshananthan and Brad Watson

and a cover designed by Jon Gray

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Introduction: Editor John Freeman’s video introducing the ‘Work’ issue

WORKING LIVES: A global series taking a day in the life of some radically different professions
1. A day driving a taxi in Rio
2. Barcelona’s forensic investigator
3. Accountant for the French Communist Party
4. The last fashion manufacturer of the Faubourg

MOVING PARTS: Ruchir Joshi’s dispatches from rural India
- Prajapati
- Hajiriya & Gajiriya
- Guddu and Pintu
Plus video: Shahid

Steven Greenhouse on laid-off G.M. workers in Janesville, Wisconsin

Nicola Monaghan on her return to a changing Nottingham

Granta’s Michael Salu on Mikhael Subotzky’s photography

Video: Ellah Allfrey interviews Ngũgĩ Wa Thiong’o

Video: Daniel Alarcón speaks to editor John Freeman. And Claudia Alva’s photographs of the Peruvian book piracy trade

Selected highlights from Granta 109:


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